From this week (March 2008), tough new laws begin in South Australia regulating solarium use. This follows the introduction of similar laws in Victoria last month.

Solariums (sunbeds or tanning booths) are fitted with light tubes that release concentrated artificial ultraviolet (UV) radiation. They are used for tanning the skin but are not a safer way to tan, as some people think. In fact, solarium radiation is up to 5 times as strong as the midday summer sun.

What are the risks?

Solariums are proven to cause:

  • Skin cancers such as melanoma, the most serious type
  • Premature skin ageing: wrinkles, blotches, skin thickening
  • Eye damage, such as cataracts and melanoma
  • Suppression of the immune system

UV radiation in solariums can damage all skin types but those most at-risk are:

  • Fair skinned people
  • Young people, especially under age 15 years
  • People using certain cosmetics or prescription medications
  • Those previously treated for skin cancer

A tan is not a sign of good health. It is a sign that your skin has been damaged by too much UV radiation. Also, a tan does not protect you against skin cancer.

Weigh up these risks and the benefits. Is a tan worth it?

Cancer Council Australia and many other health organisations advise that everyone avoid solariums for cosmetic purposes. If you must have tan, such as for a special occasion, consider using a fake tanning product.

For more information, speak to your GP or visit:

Health Update, 19 March 2008


  • Please note this information was correct at time of publication.
  • For up to date information, speak to your doctor.
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