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A closer look at sunbeds and melanoma

Posted on: August 11, 2012   by  Dr William Grant


A recent paper by Boniol and colleagues estimates that sunbed use in 18 European countries accounts for 1096 (986-1224) cases of melanoma/year for men and 2341 (2107-2614) cases/year for women in 2008.1 I commented on this paper in a posting at the journal website.2 This blog is a summary of that comment, with some additional points.

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5 Responses to A closer look at sunbeds and melanoma

  1. [email protected]

    I have a hypothesis that if you increase your Vitamin D level by taking supplements you will then have an increased protection against damage from UV light.

    Dr Cannell touched upon this in his book “Athlete’s Edge” when he reported that his light-skinned daughter took longer to tan after she had taken 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3 a day for a month

  2. Derek

    A question for Dr Cannell regarding not only sunbeds but also sunlight.

    There is research (in mice) to the effect that topical application of olive oil immediately after UV exposure reduces free radical damage to skin resulting from that exposure and reduces skin cancer risk. Presumably this would apply regardless of whether the UV came from sunbeds or sunlight. The link is:


    My question is this: would the topical application of olive oil to skin immediately following UV exposure interfere with the skin’s production of vitamin D?

  3. Ron Carmichael

    I wonder how many reading this have a similar anecdotal opinion as I do: since getting right with my 25(OH)D blood level some 3 or 4 years ago, I have been able to tolerate even 8 hours of Texas Summer Sun with no sunscreen and no burning. Of course, D helps, but is not a total armor against sunburn. But every year of my life in memory, I would burn painfully once, in the springtime, and then tan darkly for the rest of the summer. With > 50ng/ml I have been absent that yearly burn, even if I spend 6 days in a row inside working, never seeing the sun high in the sky, and then go spend that Sunday on the roof working without a shirt and of course, no sunscreen. I wonder how many others have this benefit but don’t realize it?

  4. John Cannell, MD

    Topical olive oil will not interfere with vitamin D production.

  5. Derek

    Dear Dr Cannell,
    Thank you for the reply regarding olive oil. As an Australian I am constantly faced with hysteria from the dermatological community about skin cancer risk, and most of our young school children are totally screened from sunshine during play hours. It would seem to me that the use of such a cheap product (I have no connections to the olive oil industry, by the way) after periods of sun exposure may help alleviate some of the risks and provide some ammunition to those seeking longer periods of sun exposure for themselves and their children.

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