Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

An End To Tanning Salons? April 5, 2010

There is no such thing as a healthy tan, and going to a tanning salon and using a tanning bed is one of the worst things that you can do to yourself since there is a direct link between tanning beds and skin cancer.  Unfortunately up until now physicians, estheticians, skin cancer survivors, and concerned citizens have had little support from the government when it came to educating and warning the public about the extreme hazards of tanning salonsand tanning beds.  Until now the FDA has classified tanning salons as Class I medical devices which means the FDA considers them to “present minimal potential for harm to the user.”  Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Luckily, it seems that the FDA is going to upgrade their classification of tanning salons.  On March 25th the General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Medical Devices Advisory Committee met and unanimously decided that the FDA must change its classification of tanning beds and tanning salons.  Just what that new classification will look like is unclear.  According to The Skin Cancer Foundation:

The Panel unanimously concluded that this classification was not appropriate, with some Panel members favoring a designation of Class II with restrictions (“special controls”) to limit access by age, and/or skin type. Others thought tanning devices should be upgraded to Class III (the most strictly regulated category), but they acknowledged that the latter reclassification would be difficult to implement.The majority of the Panel was in favor of an age restriction to limit minors’ access to UV tanning devices, although some members preferred a parental consent option.

The Panel also approved of more disclosure to users — and better placement of labels warning users about the risks of UV tanning. While the FDA requires tanning beds to include instructions for the use of protective eyewear and a warning label about the potential for eye and skin damage, as Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro noted in a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, “In most cases the labels are located on the upper canopy [of the tanning bed], and out of sight of consumers prior to tanning.” The Panel also paid special attention to the possibility of eye damage from tanning devices, and discussed stronger protective eyewear requirements.

While the FDA is deciding just how the new regulations will look the American Academy of Dermatology Association asked the FDA to enforce the following restrictions when it comes to tanning beds: 

  1. Prohibiting access to indoor tanning for minors (under 18 years old)
  2. Educating all indoor tanning customers about the skin cancer risks and requiring their informed consent
  3. Implementing and enforcing labeling recommendations outlined in the Tanning Accountability and Notification (TAN) Act
  4. Encouraging enforcement of state regulations

The American Academy of Dermatology also supports the newly passed indoor tanning tax since it will hopefully discourage individuals from using tanning beds and tanning salons.

Hopefully sooner than later the FDA will change their classification of tanning beds.  Hopefully sooner than later people will come to their senses and stop using tanning beds!

Sources and Further Reading



There Is Nothing Wrong with a Fake Tan


If you love the way you look with a tan there are plenty of ways to achieve that look without exposing yourself to the risk of skin cancer.  There are so many self-tanners and bronzers on the market that anyone can find a product that they like.


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