To the Editor.—
I agree with Morison,1 when he comments on the article by Levine et al2 on bergapten-induced tanning, that it is not possible to obtain a safe tan by whatever means (viz, no sunscreens, UVB sunscreens with or without tanning enhancers or by exposure to UVA radiation). I do not believe that Levine et al2 suggest that a bergapten-induced tan is safe, as implied by Morison. However, all tans are not equal and some types of tan may offer better3 and/or more persistent photoprotection than others.Morison1 says that nobody has studied the possible protective benefits of a tan induced by a bergapten-containing sunscreen. There are indeed such studies. Sambuco et al4 have shown that such a tan protected against solar-simulated radiation-induced sunburn cell formation in the miniature pig, whereas protection was not observed with a tan obtained by solar-simulated radiation alone.
Young AR. To Tan or Not to Tan. Arch Dermatol. 1990;126(5):681. doi:10.1001/archderm.1990.01670290129024