|Credit: Rich McDonald|
I ran across a headline during a general Google search stating, “Kim Kardashian At Ulta – Promotes Kardashian Sun Kissed.” This was immediately next to another headline touting, “Kim Kardashian Flaunts Cleavage in Tight Pink Dress.” The second headline itself was no more shocking to me than, “Scientists Determine that Water is Wet.” However, the first headline grabbed my attention as I wanted to see whether or not Mrs. West was promoting “safe” tanning products or tanning enhancers.
When I clicked the link, there she was in her tight pink dress and plenty of cleavage. In truth, all things Kardashian, or any name associated with tabloid headline pandering, simply turns me off. To use an old cliché, I was reading this for the article.
Sure enough, Kim was appearing at a Los Angeles Ulta Beauty Store to promote the Kardashian Sun Kissed tanning line. While her tanning product line does include self-tanning products, it also includes a “tanning extender” which is used after tanning to lengthen the life of one’s tan. This didn't surprise me at all as I had little faith that any Kardashian would promote sun safety, despite having had episodes of skin cancer in the family. While there was no surprise in the article, there was one major face-palm quote from Kim.
When I travel, the one thing that makes me feel alive whether or not I have makeup on is a tan, especially in my face. When you travel, you can’t just go lay out. I do like regular tanning because I have psoriasis, and the tanning beds are particularly good for that.
Tanning beds are good for that…that being good for the treatment of psoriasis? I've heard that before. I’ve addressed it before. But I’ll address it again.
If you search the internet for “Psoriasis and tanning beds,” you’ll find a variety of information on both sides of the argument. The fact is that Phototherapy is indeed a legitimate way to treat psoriasis. Ultraviolet B rays (UVB) penetrates the skin and slows the growth of the affected cells. Treatment is recommended to be administered on a set schedule by a medical professional, although there are home-based systems available by prescription only. Sometimes, the UVB therapy is combined with a topical agent or other medication to make the treatments more efficient. UVA rays are also used in other forms of light therapy, but only in conjunction with a medication psoralen which makes the skin more sensitive and much be monitored VERY closely. All therapies described above, in fact are monitored closely by a health care specialist.
So tanning beds should be a good alternative…right? Wrong! The majority of tanning beds emit primarily UVA rays which are mostly ineffective against psoriasis, unless combined with psoralen as mentioned above. But again, this medication causes the skin to be much more light-sensitive and severe burning will occur. There are tanning beds that emit UVB rays, but they are hardly regulated for intensity and not properly adjusted for specific treatment of psoriasis.
The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) has this to say about tanning beds:
Phototherapy (light therapy), performed under medical supervision is safe, effective, and cost-effective. The National Psoriasis Foundation does not support the use of indoor tanning beds as a substitute for phototherapy performed with a prescription and under the supervision of a physician. Only medical professionals should provide and advertise light therapy for the treatment of psoriasis.
The NPF goes on to say that the “spectra of light in tanning beds vary greatly and often include wavelengths of light that are carcinogenic and photo-damaging.” The NPF’s full statement on tanning beds can be found here.
There are plenty of accounts online from people that claim that tanning beds DID help with their psoriasis, and I don’t doubt that they believe that. Many people don’t consider other influences that may have simultaneously impacted their improved condition. Did they change their medication? Were there other changes? Or did their condition improve simply from the placebo effect? I don’t often doubt that when something works, it works. But at the same time, I feel it’s best to take the advice of medical professionals devoted to the treatment of this skin condition rather than trust the declaration of a tabloid celebrity.
Disclaimer reminder…I’m not a medical professional. I’m just a guy that’s expressing his opinion based on what I've read in articles from various organizations and individuals representing various views related to melanoma and skin cancer. My opinions are mine and I’m not paid by anyone to express them. And trust me, I wish I were getting paid just to be me. But then again, if I was, I’d probably be a Kardashian.