by Stefania Revelli
Bronze and gold were two of the summer’s hottest shades, and not just because of the Olympics. Between indoor-tan taxes, overexposed “tan mom” Patricia Krentcil, new government regulations for sunscreen labeling, and health concerns around airbrush tanning, catching rays — whether natural or synthetic — has taken a lot of heat.
Medical experts continue to say that UV rays, in any form, are harmful. The $4.9 billion tanning-salon industry counters that dermatologists and sunscreen makers are causing unnecessary alarm. Meanwhile, sunless tanning products and services have used media campaigns to tout benefits (collagen boosting, vitamin D) and try to shift the industry’s image away from that of health villain.
Take note, beauty brands and healthcare services. Rather than pouring efforts into making the sun an outright hero or villain, address what consumers really want: basic, honest information about how to live healthier lives. Sunlight and outdoor living are inextricably linked. Several of our IconoCommunities members cite “feeling happier” and “feeling thinner” as reasons for being out in the sun (4 September 2012). Leveraging the back-to-basics wellness angle, the National Wildlife Federation’s Green Time for Sleep Time campaign encourages more outdoor time as a strategy for better sleep. And, according to Dr. Daphne Miller of the University of California, “Parks are a part of our healthcare system.”
With its potential positive effects on physical and mental health, a moderate daily dose of natural light just might become the next hot item on consumers’ health and wellness agenda. But with so much confusing information out there, personal care brands need to keep simplifying their messages, and balance sun safety risks with benefits.