There is no difference in a tan produced by the sun compared to that from tanning equipment. UVR exposure from either the sun or tanning equipment increases the risk of skin cancer.
On May 1st 2014 the new Ontario Skin Cancer Prevention Act (Tanning Beds) which bans the use of tanning beds by youth under 18 years of age came into effect.
This legislation is important because it can help to prevent skin cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared tanning beds in its highest cancer risk category along with asbestos and tobacco. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has stated that tanning bed use increases the risk of the deadliest form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma. That risk is 75% higher if tanning bed use begins before the age of 35. This legislation will reduce the likelihood of youth being exposed to UV radiation at a young age.
Whether you were thinking of using a tanning bed or tanning under the sun, remember no tan is a safe tan! Tanning causes skin cancer. In fact, melanoma skin cancer is the second most common and one of the deadliest types of cancer among young people between the ages of 15 and 34 years.
The good news is skin cancer is preventable. Here’s how.
- Never use a tanning bed.
- Protect yourself when you are in the sun!
- Limit your time in the sun…between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s harmful rays are the hottest.
- Cover up. Wear a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection and light-coloured loose- fitting clothes covering as much of the body as possible (e.g. long sleeved shirt and pants).
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply 30 minutes before going outside and every 2 hours and after skin becomes wet from water or sweating. Sunscreen is not recommended for babies under the age of 6 months.
- Seek shade.
- Check the UV Index. Tune into your local radio or TV station or check online for the UV Index in your area. When the UV Index is moderate (3 or higher) take precaution by covering up, and wearing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.