Sunshine is good!
I have been a tanner for as long as I can remember. The best memories I have from my youth are laying basking in the summer sun on a cliff that had been smoothed by the sea and winds for many thousands of years. That was on a small island in the archipelago not far from my home in southern Sweden.
After school and university (studying chemistry) I entered the Swedish Navy where I spend 16 years and retired as captain. My last command was on a fast patrol ship with the main task to hunt down (or rather up) any Soviet submarines that were moving more or less at will in Swedish waters. The ships, the sea, sunshine – again my best memories from the time in the Navy are the early spring days when the sun started to ascend from its low winter altitude. Instinctively I knew that sunshine was good for me, and I was not alone having that feeling.
It was also during my time in the Navy I got introduced to the concept of indoor tanning. Actually, one of the first factories in the world for low-pressure UV-lamps, was located not far from where I lived and many salons in my hometown started to offer indoor tanning. This was in the mid-seventies and Sweden was a pioneering indoor tanning country. The owner of the lamp-factory mentioned above even took his indoor tanning concept to the USA but failed miserably. The American market was not yet ready for indoor tanning.
From the Navy to telecommunications.
The step from a Navy-officer to a mobile telecom executive was not that large when it comes to technology. (Just try to communicate through cables from a ship at sea!) After a couple of years in a very fast growing mobile operation, I got the opportunity to spread our Scandinavian knowledge and experiences outside the Swedish borders. Soon I found myself sitting in the sun on the same beach in Latvia which I just a few years before had been watching through binoculars from my ship at sea. Now there were although no Soviet marines swarming ashore training the defenses of their Motherland (or, in many's opinion, the occupation of another country).
Fast forward to 2006. After six years of overseeing successful telecom investment activities worth billions of dollars, I got the chance to retire from that industry and leave the boardroom- and political- intrigues of a large telecom operator and the largest Russian daily newspaper.
Tan- and skin- care
By this time, my wife, who was working in a Russian company importing and selling products for indoor tanning, asked me to help her to find better tanning lotions for the business in Russia. The company she was working with had for 15 years used one supplier of tanning-lotions and made their brands very popular. Because of a too long and too costly chain of distribution those lotions from the USA became quite expensive in Russian tanning-salons thus encouraging more and more side imports directly from the USA, sabotaging any efforts to make a profit. I set out to find something better which they would be able to offer to customers in Russia to a more reasonable price. Many suppliers wanted to offer their lotions, but after having tested them on the most important criteria, quality, one manufacturer stood out far above all others.
Lotions of good quality go together with tanning (both indoor and outdoor) like a good shampoo goes with hair wash and a good toothpaste with brushing teeth.
This process also gave me a new insight into the tanning business, the huge benefits it is providing for their customers, and the challenges that are facing it.
Together with moderation in tanning, using good quality tanning lotions is also the best way to protect the skin towards any negative effects from UV-light.
Tan- and sun- scare
I have always believed that tanning is not only good but also necessary for us humans and the latest research on the importance of Vitamin-D, produces more and more proof for that belief. Having studied in detail the “research” trying to prove how dangerous the sun is, I am totally convinced that this “sun-scare” was invented by clever marketing people in some large cosmetic companies. By building up a fear of UV-light either from the sun or from a lamp in a tanning-bed, they managed to create from nothing a 30 billion dollar(US) market for chemical sun protection lotions and coloring “self-tan” lotions (since people still want to “look healthy”). However, it seems like they in the process also managed to destroy many more lives than they claimed to have saved with their campaigns (actually there is not even any statistic being able to support such claims!).
Even if our common sense, supported by new research, tells us that those who in their own commercial interest try to scare us away from the sun are wrong, the wheels they put in motion are by now moving with accumulated speed, supported by governments and media around the world. The counter-power created by findings that moderate exposure to UVB the year around can help to avoid a lot of suffering and save a lot of public spending on healthcare, is still too weak even if it is slowly becoming stronger.
Therefore, I urge everyone with the same view as I on this topic to unite in our efforts to bring back the status of sunshine to where it belongs and where it was during most part of our long history – as the most powerful source of life on the planet. You can start by collecting and spread information among your closest friends and relatives. If you can influence journalists and doctors, it will speed up the process. The sun-scare people have gone too far. The time has come for common sense and ancient wisdom to once again rule our minds!