Solarscape News

The Gillie Report sums it up


".... the most comprehensive, balanced review of UV science and policy written to date."

A41 - PAGE BRITISH REPORT has called into question public health policy that only considers positive effects of ultraviolet light.


Olivier Gillie a London-based medical editor and writer whose doctorate degrees in genetics and developmental biology from Edinburgh University give him a unique angle in humanity's need for sunlight - spent several years creating "Sunlight Robbery: Health benefits of sunlight are denied by current public health policy in the UK."


The report is the latest blow to the anti-tanning lobby's tired case and is the most comprehensive, balanced review of UV science and policy written to date, compiling a modern look at all the science about UV radiation.


"There is no sound scientific basis for alleging that a tan is ever unhealthy and so the slogan, 'There is no such thing as a healthy tan' should be dropped." Gillie writes "Present government policy on sunlight is the product of limited specialist knowledge, particularly of dermatologists. Bone specialists and others have been ignored. A considered policy on sunlight, taking in a wide spectrum of views, is badly needed in the UK."

Paramount in the report are suggestions that:

  1. The relative risk of melanoma is being overstated in public health campaigns.
  2. There is no clear evidence that childhood sunburns are more significant than adult sunburns in increasing skin cancer risk - a suggestion that is contrary to the cornerstone of recent anti-tanning efforts.
  3. The positive effects of regular sun exposure are being ignored in health policy.

And Gillie's report has turned some heads in the United States. "This document should force the dermatologists away from their 'tunnel vision' thinking with respect to solar exposure," said Dr. Bruce Hollis, professor of pediatrics, biochemistry and molecular biology at the Medical University of South Carolina.


What did Gillie do? Citing 234 research articles and studies, Gillie has summarized and quantified the case for balance in UV-related health policy balancing the dermatology perspective with the growing field of research on the positive effects of UV light. That combination, written objectively by a third party, had not been published to date.


The Health Research Forum, a British group formed to distribute scientific research to policy-making bodies, published the report. The group has no ties to the industry.


You can download the report from the Health Research Forum website at


Is Hotter Better?


Outdoors, a little heat is needed to get the tanning process going. But contrary to what some might assume, more heat doesn't make a better indoor tan. Tanning lamps put out a certain amount of heat, light and ultraviolet. As lamps age, the heat given off increases, and ultraviolet lessens.


Tingle lotions are a different form of "heat" that can be classified as tan-inducing, and many people enjoy. These products create a warm, tingly feeling by bringing more oxygen to the surface of the skin.

Your Comfort is Important to Solarscape.




TANNING BEDS PRODUCE VITAMIN D: In a published study that finally quantified what so many of us have known for years, a Boston University research team has shown that indoor tanning clients have healthier vitamin D levels as compared with non-tanners, and have greater bone-density levels.


Published in late 2004 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the BU research team, which included vitamin D guru Dr. Michael F. Holick, showed that subjects who used a tanning bed had 90 percent higher vitamin D levels compared to non-tanners and significantly higher bone mineral density.


"These findings have important clinical implications," the researchers state in their report. "The increased public awareness of the negative effect of sunlight in causing skin cancer has resulted in the fact that many adults and children always wear sun protection or completely avoid sunlight exposure. A lack of sunlight exposure can result in vitamin D deficiency. Humans produce most of the vitamin D found in the circulation in the skin through exposure to sunlight, and adults who spend most of their time indoors are at risk of vitamin D deficiency."

Joining Holick in writing the paper were BU researchers Vin Tangpricha, Adrian Turner, Catherine Spina and Sheila Decastro. The study was supported by grants from the National Institute of Health and the UV Foundation.





A visible leader in the European dermatology community is calling for his colleagues to stop telling people to stay out of the sun and to completely re-examine their anti-tanning message, calling the dermatology industry's absolute anti-sun message 'draconian and unnecessary'.


Dr. Neil Walker, chair of the skin cancer prevention coalition in Britain, has challenged the dermatology community to re-examine its long-standing dogma that 'there is no such thing as a safe tan'. He told the British journal Medical News Today that the old adage is counterproductive.


'There are a lot of people (in the skin cancer campaign) who have this almost religious conviction about the dangers of the sun. My view has been that we have got to try to look at things practically. But the zealots rule at the moment', Walker said in the article.


Britain's skin cancer prevention coalition, called the UK Skin Cancer Prevention Working Party, is a grouping that includes the British Association of Dermatologists, the British Association of Plastic Surgeons, the British Photodermatology Group as well as the Department of Health and other industry groups.


In stepping out of line with the dermatology industry's long-time dogma, Walker may have become the first visible leader within the dermatology establishment to do so. Medical News today, in covering Walker's statement, suggested, 'A reversal of official advice on the dangers of the sun was called for yesterday in what could lead to one of the biggest revisions of a health warning in decades'.


Walker, an Oxford dermatologist, told Medical News Today that telling millions of people who want to tan on their vacations to stay out of the sun invited ridicule.


'There may be an argument that there is no such thing as a safe tan but it is not an argument that works', Walker said in the article. 'We have to find a way of putting the message across about what is the most damaging behaviour, which is why I tell my patients not to bake or burn'.

Embracing such a message would put the dermatology industry more closely in line with what the professional indoor tanning industry promotes today: sunburn prevention.


To view the article, visit the Medical News Today website,, and scroll to the Feb. 1 story, 'Stop Telling People to Avoid the Sun'.

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