Healthy bodies come in a variety of weights, shapes, sizes and colours. Feel good about yourself and your natural skin colour! No tan is worth dying for.
Tanning beds and the law
As of May 1, 2014, youth under 18 years of age are no longer allowed to use tanning beds in Ontario. Learn more about the Skin Cancer Prevention Act (tanning beds), 2013 (Ministry of Health).
Public Health Sudbury & Districts inspects tanning salons to ensure compliance with the Act.
If you are an owner or operator of a facility that provides access to tanning equipment, please visit our professionals section to see how this regulation affects you.
There is no safe way to tan
- Whether you get it from the sun or from a tanning bed, there is no such thing as a safe or healthy tan.
- Any change in your skin’s colour is a sign of skin damage, and increases your risk of skin cancer.
- All the ultraviolet (UV) rays that you have been exposed to in your lifetime add up. Your skin never forgets!
A base tan through artificial tanning does not protect the skin from burning.
- Any tan is a sign of permanent skin damage.
- Bronzing of the skin may provide a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 3, but this is not enough.1 The minimum protection recommended is SPF 30.2
Everyone is at risk for damage from UV radiation.
- People with red or blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin, freckles, and who sunburn easily are at the highest risk.
- Tanning beds are high-output UV machines that deliver intense doses of radiation designed to produce rapid and deeply coloured tans.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified UVR-emitting tanning devices (tanning beds) in its highest cancer risk category, along with asbestos and tobacco.3
- Using indoor tanning equipment before the age of 35 increases your chance of having melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.4
It is important that people know the risks that come with tanning. Should you chose to use tanning beds, consult with the tanning bed operator to discuss Health Canada’s Guidelines for Tanning Salon Owners, Operators, and Users as well as the things that you can do to reduce your risk, such as:
- Be aware of your skin type. Everyone is at risk, but fair skin burns more easily.
- Limit how long and how often you use tanning beds.
- Always remember to wear protective goggles (which should be provided).
Sunless tanning products (creams, spays, etc.) are a safer alternative for getting a tanned look.5 Keep in mind that unless these products contain sunscreen, they do not offer any protection against the sun and its UV rays. Be sure to practice sun safety when using these products.
1 Young A. Tanning devices: fast track to skin cancer. Pigm Cell Res 2004;17:2–9. Cited in Canadian Cancer Society’s Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics (2014). Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014. Chapter 7: Special topic: Skin cancers. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2014. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-101/canadian-cancer-statistics/?region=on on August 26, 2020.
2National steering committee for consensus on content for sun safety messages. The recommended core content for sun safety messages in Canada (May 2018). Report on the 2014/15 national consensus process – expanded report. Integration of documents previously reviewed by the national steering committee for consensus on content for sun safety messages. Updated May 2018.
3Ghissassi, F., Baan,R., Straif, K., et al., on behalf of the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group. A review of human carcinogens—Part D: radiation. The Lancet Oncology – 1 August 2009 (Vol. 10, Issue 8, Pages 751-752) DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(09)70213-X.
4 Canadian Cancer Society’s Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics (2014). Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014. Chapter 7: Special topic: Skin cancers. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2014. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-101/canadian-cancer-statistics/?region=on on August 26, 2020.
5 Canadian Dermatology Association, (2020). Position Statement-The Use of Self-Tanning Products. Retrieved from https://dermatology.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/The-Use-of-Self-tanning-Products-Position-Statement-EN.pdf on July 24, 2020.
This item was last modified on August 27, 2020