Truth about Tanning - FAQs

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Sun Safety & Tanning
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Ontario Tanning Bed Legislation-Information for Tanning Bed Operators

Effective May 1, 2014, it is illegal to sell, offer for sale or provide tanning services to anyone under 18 years of age in Ontario.  Visit www.ontario.ca/uvrsmart  for more information. Below are the most common questions asked about tanning.

Remember: NO TAN IS A HEALTHY TAN!

For more information, please visit Canadian Cancer Society

 

Visit Canadian Cancer Society for more information

Questions
Question
Is using tanning beds safer than tanning in the sun?
Answer

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.

Question
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?
Answer

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.

Question
Does tanning causes wrinkly, sagging skin?
Answer

Yes. UV rays break down the collagen in your skin which leads to premature signs of aging, such as wrinkles and sun spots.

Question
Do I need to purposely tan in order to get enough Vitamin D?
Answer

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.

Question
Are tanning salons a good source for information about safe sun and tanning practices?
Answer

A tanning salon is a business - its goal is to make a profit. They will always give information that will get you to give them money!  For reliable sources of information talk to a health care professional.

Question
Isn't tanned skin a sign of beauty and health?
Answer

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.

Question
Will tanning when I’m young affect me when I’m old?
Answer

Being exposed to UV at an early age increases the risk of skin cancer. Because of this the province of Ontario has banned the use of artificial tanning devices for anybody under the age of 18.

Question
Do I need to get a “base tan” before going on vacation?
Answer

 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. 

Question
How common is skin cancer?
Answer

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.

Question
What are my odds of developing skin cancer?
Answer

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.

Question
Do some medications make the skin more sensitive to UV radiation?
Answer

Yes. These include some allergy medications, antibiotics and birth control pills. Be sure to talk to your doctor or a pharmacist.

Question
Do some people have skin that just burns without ever tanning?
Answer

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. It is important to remember that you are still at risk from tanning regardless of your skin type.