Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Is using tanning beds safer than tanning in the sun?
- No! It is a common myth that tanning beds are safer than the sun. Tanning beds emit cancer causing UVA and UVB radiation, just like the sun! UV rays also contribute to premature aging of the skin, weaken the immune system and cause eye damage.
2. Is it true that as long as I tan and don’t burn I don’t have to worry about the harmful effects of UV rays?
- A tan shows that your skin has been damaged, reacting to the UV rays by producing more melanin (the stuff that gives skin, hair and moles their colour). It is still possible to develop skin cancer even if you tan but don’t burn. It can also cause premature aging.
3. Does tanning causes wrinkly, sagging skin?
- Yes. UV rays break down the collagen in your skin which leads to premature signs of aging, such as wrinkles and sun spots.
4. Do I need to purposely tan in order to get enough Vitamin D?
- For most people diet and small amounts of sun exposure, even if you are wearing sunscreen, is enough to make sure you have enough Vitamin D. If you are concerned that you are not getting enough, speak to your doctor or a pharmacist about taking a supplement.
5. Are tanning salons a good source for information about safe sun and tanning practices?
- Tanning salons are a business- their goal is to make a profit. They will always give information that will get you to give them money! In fact the largest tanning salon operator in Canada was recently charged by the Canadian Competition Bureau for making false health claims about indoor tanning. For reliable sources of information talk to a health care professional follow the links at the bottom of this page.
6. Isn't tanned skin a sign of beauty and health?
- Love the natural glow of your healthy skin, without a tan! Keep your skin radiant by being active, eating well and staying out of the sun and tanning beds.
7. Will tanning when I’m young affect me when I’m old?
- Being exposed to UV at an early age increases the risk of skin cancer. Because of this Germany, Scotland, Denmark, and large parts of Australia (Victoria and New South Wales) and the U.S. (Wisconsin, Illinois, California, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Texas) have all banned the use of artificial tanning devices for anybody under the age of 18.
8. Do I need to get a “base tan” before going on vacation?
- A base tan only provides an SPF of 3-5, way below the recommended SPF 15 for sunscreens. If you want to protect your skin while on vacation cover up and stay out of the sun between 11am and 4pm.
9. How common is skin cancer?
- It is the most common form of cancer. According to the Canadian Cancer Society over 80 800 people will be diagnosed in 2010, and over 1200 will die.
10. What are my odds of developing skin cancer?
- If you were born in the 1990s you have a 1 in 6 chance of developing skin cancer at some point in your life. This is a large increase compared to a 1 in 20 chance for people born in the 1960s. Skin cancer is highly curable if caught early.
11. Do some medications make the skin more sensitive to UV radiation?
- Yes. These include some allergy medications, antibiotics and birth control pills. Be sure to talk to your doctor or a pharmacist.
12. Do some people have skin that just burns without ever tanning?
- Yes. These are typically redheads or blondes with blue or green eyes and freckles. They are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer, and are unable to achieve the “deep dark tan” that tanning salons try to offer.
Many well respected organizations recommend against using artificial tanning equipment and warn against the harmful effects of UV radiation- no matter what the source.