The sun never sets on medical silliness

Ah, Sweden. The Land of the Midnight Sun. Sweden has been famous for its images of bronzed, blonde Scandinavian beauties–but not anymore.

Among its many modern amenities Sweden has a regulatory watchdog that monitors advertising (somewhat like our own FTC).

After receiving complaints from cancer organizations, this agency recently chastised Stockholm fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) for featuring tanned models in their ads. They said these ads encourage people to get an “unhealthy tan.”

According to a self-regulating oversight agency set up by the Swedish advertising industry itself, called the RO, they have been receiving complaints about the ads featuring Brazilian bikini model Isabeli Fontana.

The advertising “experts” at RO said it’s “well-known that excessive exposure of the skin to the sun’s harmful radiation is dangerous and could lead to skin cancer. “And therefore, the model’s heavily tanned skin presents a harmful “ideal.” All this about a Brazilian model. (Blame it on Rio, I suppose!)

This is ironic in a country that’s so far North it hardly ever gets enough sunlight to activate vitamin D in the skin, and where the winters without sufficient sunlight are so long that residents suffer high rates of “cabin fever,” seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and suicide.

The residents of Sweden should be more concerned about not getting enough of the sun’s rays to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D than about the potential risks of a so-called “unhealthy tan.”