The 2008 US Presidential campaign had plenty of notable news items, many of them generated by perky Alaskan Gov. turned VP candidate Sarah Palin. Yet among the moose hunting, child rearing, and trooper gating anecdotes, one bit of trivia went relatively unnoticed. It was revealed that last year, Palin had a tanning bed installed in the Alaska Governor's mansion. Supposedly it was bought used and paid for by the Palin's. But unlike Sarah the Governor's wardrobe shopping spree, the cost of the unit and installation is not what worries us. While some use tanning beds attempting to limit the depressive symptoms caused by a sun-free Alaskan winter, is it really worth the risk to the skin?
Upon the news of Palin's UV exposure, the Indoor Tanning Association excitedly released a press release claiming that indoor tanning increases vitamin D for people not exposed to solar radiation. This is controversial. Just this week, the Texas Attorney General sued a tanning parlor franchise for deceptive advertising claiming tanning beds had health benefits. And this is in a Red State!
Before Palin attempts to brown her skin or end up with a red burn (possible in supposedly "safe" devices), we'd suggest she look into the data showing increased melanoma skin cancer rates in women using tanning beds. Perhaps a chat with former running mate John McCain, who has had four potentially life threatening skin cancers, would steer her straight. We recommend dietary sources of vitamin D like fortified milk, soy drinks, fish and egg yolks. And as for tanning, we suggest Sarah keep the "pale" in Palin: Just Say No!