Consumer Retorts: Tanning Salons

Is fake baking really the best way to get vitamin D?


Consumer Retorts

Tanning Salon Con

Is fake baking really the best way to get your vitamin D?

EXPOSURE TO UV LIGHT can cause skin cancer, but according to the Indoor Tanning Association, it’s also “the only way to help the body manufacture the vitamin D it needs.” This argument for fake baking has caught on in colder climates: Remember Sarah Palin‘s personal tanning bed? Technically, the ITA is correct, says Mayo Clinic endocrinologist Kurt Kennell: Soaking up UV rays is the only way to get your body to convert cholesterol into vitamin D. But popping 30 nanograms of the vitamin in the form of daily supplements also gives you all you need cheaply and with no risk of cancer, says Kennell. But the ITA makes it sound like a chore: “One would have to consume ten glasses of fortified juices or milk every day of the year,” its website states. Asked why the ITA insists that tanning is the only way to make Vitamin D, spokeswoman Sarah Longwell explains, “If you’re a supplement company, you can promote the supplement. But we are the Indoor Tanning Association.”—K.B.

HAVE A PROBLEM? Oh yes, you do. Go here to vent about annoying products and corporate policies. Selected entries will get MoJo swag.


We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.