Note to Dr. Francesca Fusco, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York City, and educational spokesperson for The Skin Cancer Foundation: you’re a dizzy, ignorant little "expert," aintcha?

Is there such as thing as a healthy tan? Simply put, no. There is no degree of tanning, whether from natural sunlight or artificial light, like tanning beds, that can be considered safe.

And yet, as we migrated out of Africa and into northern climes 60,000 years ago the ancestors of those white folk amongst us rapidly evolved lighter skin to absorb adequate vitamin D from less intense sunlight.

And then there’s this, the global epidemiology, of which I’m quite certain you’re blissfully ignorant, since I’ll bet your Foundation does quite well by the makers of sunscreen products (…and the more they profit, the more skin cancer).


Well, fortunately, judging by the comments posted to your public display of ignorance and stupidity, I’m not the only one who thinks you an opportunistic miscreant and a menace to society and good health.

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. Patrik on June 4, 2009 at 15:04

    [There is no degree of tanning, whether from natural sunlight or artificial light, like tanning beds, that can be considered safe.]

    None. Really? Not even a little bit? A tiniest bit? How about when my black buddy who is already dark goes out into the sun and simply gets darker? That's tanning, right? (BTW I am jealous, he tells me he has never used sunscreen in his life and has never been sunburned.)

    This woman is simply insane.

  2. Aaron Blaisdell on June 4, 2009 at 15:05

    The comments that follow the report are fantastic! This one was hilarious: "If the drug companies could figure out a way to charge for sunlight, sunscreens would never exist." It reminded me of a Simpson's episode where Mr. Burns builds a huge sun shield to block the sun from reaching Springfield.

  3. Aaron Blaisdell on June 4, 2009 at 15:10

    The tight correlation between annual sales of sunscreen and incidence of skin cancer might not only reflect an inverse relationship between Vitamin D status and skin cancer, but might also reflect a positive relationship between exposure to chemicals in topical sun screens and skin cancer. It probably is both, the good ol' one-two punch and you're down for the count!

  4. Aaron Blaisdell on June 4, 2009 at 15:15

    No exposure to sunlight and consumption of the standard American diet leaves most Americans doubly SAD. No wonder depression and other mental health disorders are at an all time high. (Okay, three consecutive posts is enough. I'll shut up for now.)

  5. Patrik on June 4, 2009 at 15:16

    I too am amazed by the quality of the comments. Awesome!

    [As someone who always wore sun screen I ended up with very low d levels and very pale skin that burnt easily. I then increased my D levels significantly through supplements, to control problems with the Epstein Barr virus (see the published work on MS and vitamin D). I found as a side effect that my skin darkened in the sun and did not fade in the winter. I am therefore much less likely to burn. The use of sun screen reduces the D levels and the body reacts by making the skin paler making you more likely to burn, thus things like cancer on the scalp. If you use sun screen you must take supplements and if you go in the sun you should use supplements to improve and retain your tan.


    Sounds about right.


    BTW Hi Aaron

    I think Seth has censored me from his site as my comments no longer go through. A bit disappointing.

    Also ironic given that his "Children choose healthy food" theory has relevance if approached from an evolutionary perspective. In short, children may be evolutionarily more adapted and sensitive to natural toxins in vegetables, and therefore should avoid, and do so, (Yuck! These are gross!!) as brussel sprouts, might taste, very literally different to them, than to you or me.

    Cognate: see Margie Profet and her take on Morning Sickness as an evolutionary adaptation.

  6. Patrik on June 4, 2009 at 16:30

    I just left the following comment at NYT —


    After the deluge of comments calling Dr. Fusco out — I'd love to know if she wants to qualify her statement of:

    [There is no degree of tanning, whether from natural sunlight or artificial light, like tanning beds, that can be considered safe.]

    Good doctor, what say you?


    Let's see if it gets through, and if it does, whether she bothers to answer.

  7. Aaron Blaisdell on June 4, 2009 at 16:33

    Really? That's too bad. I've heard that hypothesis about children's avoidance of vegetables due to the toxins that render them bitter. I just think it's bad science to make strong hypothetical statements based on a single anecdote. Especially when the anecdote is NOT the norm as the commentors to his post pointed out.

  8. Erik on June 4, 2009 at 16:34

    Just took a break from writing and sunbathed in my birthday suit on the roof for an hour or so. Rubbed a bit of coconut oil on, but other than that, nothing.

    Looking in the mirror, my skin has taken on a definite tinge. That must be the cancer working its magic. Better load up on Vitamin D2 (not that oil-based D3 stuff… too much fat!).

    Thanks, Doc!

  9. Bryce on June 4, 2009 at 18:54

    Great post as usual Richard. That medical 'experts' tend to be so ignorant about developments in their own fields terrifies me to no end.

    Also, a shameless plug here, but I thought you might enjoy a little food porn.

    Thanks for checking me out, and thanks for all the amazing posts. Keep them coming!

  10. Stan (Heretic) on June 4, 2009 at 19:59

    You are right Richard, not only miscreants but also high-ranking social parasites profiting out of misery and disease. I highly recommend reading "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand, this is all about people like that, their victims and those who refuse to comply and chose life instaed. Highly recommended. Sorry for a digression but I thought that this discussion requires a somewhat "bigger picture". Regards,
    Stan (Heretic)

  11. Richard Nikoley on June 4, 2009 at 15:23

    I was quite surprised by the number of ordinary folk thinking for themselves.

  12. Richard Nikoley on June 4, 2009 at 15:24

    You keep going as much as you like. :)

  13. StephenB on June 5, 2009 at 13:48

    I think she's wrong too and her opinions dangerous even. But why use the words "dizzy" and "little"?

  14. on June 5, 2009 at 20:48

    NYT declined to publish my first comment. If you google her, she does not even practice medicine, but cosmetics. Shame on NYT for giving her a platform to pose as a scientist, her bad advice has real consequences and results in decreased health for the readers too dumb to know better.

  15. Richard Nikoley on June 5, 2009 at 09:55

    Great looking food. I may now have to rethink today's fast.

  16. Richard Nikoley on June 5, 2009 at 09:56

    Read AS in 1991 and have since read all her stuff, including all the non-fiction.

  17. Michael on June 5, 2009 at 17:40

    Richard, just found your blog and this was the first post I read. I love debunking the so-called experts with cold hard information. Like your style, keep it up!

  18. Richard Nikoley on June 5, 2009 at 14:05

    Because, Stephan, I'm not playing around. Nor am I in a popularity contest. I'm dead serious with what I'm doing, and I'm not afraid of lawsuits or threats of litigation, as are so many others…so may other cowards, I should say.

    Fuck her and her bullshit.

    I will always generally go with a take-no-prisoners approach. It's my style, and it suits me fine.

    I hate fucking bullshit; I hate it when it hurts people who aren't or haven't yet come to the place where they think for themselves, and I will not have it. As long as I'm free to speak, they get it both barrels. Every time. Top to bottom. Wall to wall.

  19. Monica on June 5, 2009 at 14:51

    Good for you, Richard.

  20. Monica on June 5, 2009 at 14:53

    Both barrels. Top to bottom. Wall to wall. Love it.

    Honestly, the ignorance of much of the medical profession with regard to human evolution is inexcusable. Eventually (over a year ago) even I figured it out. Yes, I'm a biologist but I study mushrooms for Christ's sake.

  21. Richard Nikoley on June 5, 2009 at 15:01

    In answer to your question directly, Stephan, I'm condescending to her dizzy little self.

  22. Richard Nikoley on June 5, 2009 at 15:03

    It is "inexcusable."

    That's why I don't, and won't.

  23. Richard Nikoley on June 5, 2009 at 18:06

    Thanks Michael. I take it as a case of "takes one to know one."

  24. Don Matesz on June 5, 2009 at 20:09

    Excellent post Richard. I agree with the point and the language. Inescusable indeed.

    I hadn't seen that graph or that presentation before. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.


  25. Richard Nikoley on June 5, 2009 at 20:55

    Yep, someone found that and called her out on it even before I wrote my post.

  26. Natasha on June 6, 2009 at 14:31

    Thank you for refuting yet another bit of "health" propaganda. I suspected as much, but came across a lot of conflicting bits of information while doing some research on my own. I never burn in the sun, and in the past have only used sunscreen occasionally. I hate the stuff. Well, no more wasting money on it, for me, and the roof of the Jeep is definitely staying off unless it is cold or raining!

  27. jon winchester on June 12, 2009 at 10:18

    she is a persistent little expert…

    if it's hard to get enough vitamin D even with white skin, imagine the consequences of her latest piece of advice: dark-skinned folks need to fear the photons as well…

    seems like people are watching her, there were some good comments right away

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.