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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Indoor Tanning

One indoor tanning session (PDF) can increase the risk of skin cancer. Protect your skin and eyes!


Did you know?

  • One indoor tanning session can increase the risk of skin cancer.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and indoor tanning devices are cancer-causing.
  • Using indoor tanning devices before age 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75%.
  • Under the Skin Cancer Prevention Act (Tanning Beds), 2013, it is illegal for youth under age 18 to use indoor tanning equipment.

Myth Busters

Myth: If I build up my tan, I’ll be protected from the sun.

Fact: A tan does not offer sun protection. Skin damage from the sun adds up, and skin never forgets the damage!

Myth: A tan is healthy.

Fact: Tanned skin is damaged skin. It is not a sign of health. Exposure to UV rays can lead to: skin damage, skin cancer and premature skin aging.

Myth: Tanning is a safe way to get vitamin D.

Fact: Tanning is NOT a safe way to get vitamin D. Use food or supplements instead.

Fake Tans

If you still want the tanned-look, a fake tan is a safer alternative:

  • Fake tans come in various forms (e.g. creams or spray tans).
  • Fake tans dye the outer layer of skin. They do not provide sun protection!

  • There are concerns about the potential of inhaling DHA during a spray tan. Further research is needed to determine their safety. 
Date of creation: February 18, 2013
Last modified on: May 17, 2023


1Marrett LD, Chu MBH, Atkinson J, Nuttall R, Bromfield G, Hershfield L, Rosen CF for Representatives in the National Consensus Process on the Recommended Core Content for Sun Safety Messages in Canada. An update to the recommended core content for sun safety messages for public education in Canada: a consensus report. 2016. Manuscript submitted for publication
2Slevin, T. (2014). Sun, Skin and Health. Collingwood VIC, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.