Darque Tan: Manipulative, Shady Articles vs. Google Scholar
So here I am on Facebook and along the side appears an advertisement for Darque Tan‘s Facebook page. The ad says that if I like the page they will send me a free $25 gift card. I proceed there with no real intention of getting the gift card, but out of curiosity.
So fine, companies can promote themselves by giving out coupons and things so new customers can give them a try. If the consumer wants to take certain risks the informed consumer should be able to. The page seems innocent… until you look at the links they have posted.
On the first page of the links Darque Tan has posted are articles by a “hollistic [sic] celebrity doctor,” an “integrative oncologist,” and various alternative medicine pages. Many of these articles fail to address the risk of developing skin cancer associated with overexposure to UV radiation and simply espouse the benefits of getting enough Vitamin D. Among these are also articles that go right out and say that the risk of developing skin cancer from tanning is “miniscule“.
Actually, some of these articles seem to make good points about media exaggeration of numbers and risks, but the last one that does make that decent point about media exaggeration of numbers still only takes into account one study, and the other two articles are just the opinions of “celebrity” doctors who don’t make any references to peer reviewed studies. By the way, it’s not like alternative medicine doctors don’t already have a reputation for not having any real evidence for their “cures” but selling them anyway to make big money…
Let’s see what happens when we type in “tanning risk” to Google Scholar…
We have this meta-analysis. Holy crap! A meta-analysis that takes into account published articles over a period of 20 years! It confirms that the evidence suggests “a significantly increased risk of cutaneous melanoma subsequent to sunbed/sunlamp exposure.”
At the end, the study does caution that it is hard to know exactly how much the risk is increased, but scientists do not use “significantly increased risk” lightly.
And you know what else?
That’s right! More published, peer reviewed research!
The abstract of this study states:
Indoor tanning poses great risks. Studies support the role of artificial UV radiation in cutaneous carcinogenesis. Despite claims by the tanning industry, artificial tanning is not a safe or necessary way to increase systemic vitamin D levels. The National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization have acknowledged the risks of indoor tanning. Nonetheless, regulations limiting tanning in the United States are surprisingly sparse.
Carcinogenesis comes from two Greek words…. it means cancer causing (just thought I’d define the term in case it wasn’t clear enough).
Sure, there are limitations and problems with these studies, but at least they state that there are some things that may be unsure, and at least they still have, you know, actual evidence to back them up despite potential limitations. An informed consumer should know about these potential limitations as well as the actual evidence and not just be fed articles from shady sources whose motives are probably purely monetary.
What particularly annoys me is that one of their largest consumer bases is teenage girls and that’s who they are targeting with their manipulative propaganda. Indeed, that’s probably how the advertisement showed up for me in the first place since Facebook knows that I am a teen girl.
My only remaining question is… does the person running this Facebook page really believe what they’re saying? If not, do they have a restful conscience?