Sun Beds


Tanning exerts a strong attraction for many, especially young people, who identify it with beauty and health.  Natural tanning occurs during exposure to sunlight: the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun's rays causes a response in the skin, which releases dark pigment to protect itself.


Ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB) may constitute a health risk, including various types of skin tumors and accelerated aging of the skin.


The general public is aware of the dangers of the sun, yet some people, for reasons of esthetics and beauty, expose themselves to artificial ultraviolet radiation that resembles sunlight, using sun beds and tanning booths, fitted with special radiation-emitting lamps. - a world-wide trend of ever-increasing proportions, despite the real danger to health that this entails. 


During the last decade things have at last begun to change, in Israel and abroad, certain restrictions are being placed on tanning parlors, especially with regard to minors under the age of 18.


In July 2014, new regulations were formulated in Israel, according to which it is forbidden for the Manager of a Tanning Salon or its staff to allow the use of tanning equipment to minors under 18.  Moreover, Tanning Salons are required to post a warning sign, distribute an information leaflet to customers, ensure the use of washed and sterilized eye-shields, and comply with Israeli standards.


The regulations were published on 2.9.2014 and came into effect 90 days later.


It's all a matter of fashion

In Western culture, tanned skin is still considered a symbol of beauty and health, although in the not-too-distant past fair skin was a status symbol, especially among women.  The 'commoners', many of whom worked in agriculture, were exposed to sunlight through force of circumstance, while women of privileged status could 'allow themselves' to be protected from the sun and preserve their fair skins.  The change in perception began with the industrial revolution, when many went to work in enterprises where they were not exposed to the sun, while those of better means went to the beach and sunbathed.  This brought about a change in the dictates of fashion and, until not many years ago, the social perception of tanning being beautiful and even healthy was preserved, since in addition to the esthetic aspect, the positive health attributes of sunlight became known, among them the production of Vitamin D and the beneficial effect on various skin diseases.


What are sun beds?

Over recent decades, special fluorescent lamps were developed, that emit UV radiation in the UVA and UVB wavelengths.  Exposure to the radiation emitted by these lamps cause tanning similar to that produced by exposure to sunlight. Today one can find in many Beauty Salons, beds or special booths that are used for tanning through those fluorescent lamps surrounding the device.


The trend of paying for the pleasure of tanning at various such salons – sometimes in addition to natural sunbathing – increased over the past few years, despite awareness of the dangers of UV radiation in general, and information on the potential harm of  such equipment in particular.


Sun bed

Sun bed


Restrictions on the use of tanning equipment in Israel and abroad

Over the past few years many countries, including Israel, began to place restrictions on the use of various kinds of tanning equipment, especially for minors under 18 years of age.

The following is a review of restrictive policies:



Guidelines from international health organizations on the use of sun beds




Legislation in Israel: Business Licensing Regulations - Health warnings at Tanning Parlors) – 2014

In 2010 the Ministry of Health published a position paper on the issue of sun beds, in which it stipulated that in the light of accumulated knowledge, it recommended against the use of sun beds, emphasizing the importance of this recommendation to minors under-18.  The Ministry of Health recommended regulating legislation so that the operation of Tanning Salons would be restricted by the Business Licensing Regulations. 


Indeed, on 2.7.2014 the new regulations were passed, according to which it is forbidden for the Manager of a Tanning Salon or its staff to allow the use of tanning equipment to minors under 18.  Moreover, Tanning Salons are required to post a warning sign, distribute an information leaflet to customers, enforce the use of washed and sterilized eye-shields, and comply with Israeli standards. The regulations were published on 2.9.2014 and came into effect 90 days later.




Details of the Regulations

License for a Tanning Salon – no license will be granted for opening a Tanning Salon, and no person will manage or operate it unless he complies with the regulations to the satisfaction of the Director of the Ministry of Health or someone appointed by him.


Warning sign – The Ministry's warning as detailed in the Regulations is to be posted on conspicuous signs in every room containing tanning equipment and at every customer-service counter.


On this sign, with the Header "Artificial tanning is dangerous too", the Ministry's warnings will appear as follows:

  1. Tanning causes wrinkles and spotting of the skin, may cause precancerous lesions and increase the risk of developing malignant skin tumors that cause suffering, illness and death.
  2. The risk increases with repeated tanning
  3. Before beginning a tanning session, customers should read the information leaflet they received, to discover whether they are included in a high-risk group
  4. It is imperative to use an eye-protection when tanning
  5. If any complications arise as a result of the use of the tanning equipment, tanning should be stopped immediately and the user should consult a dermatologist.


Age restriction – Use of tanning equipment is forbidden to minors under-18.  The Manager of a Tanning Salon or its staff will not permit anyone under 18 to use the equipment.


Eye-protection – every customer will be provided with an eye-shield before starting any use of the tanning equipment


Information leaflet – an information leaflet will be handed to every customer before using the equipment.  The customers will be required to sign a form acknowledging they have read the warning information


The leaflet must include the Ministry of Health's warning that tanning, whether from the sun or from tanning equipment, may endanger health.  It will also note that tanning is particularly dangerous to the eyes and is forbidden for minors under 18. It states that tanning may harm anyone at any age, especially if they are in a risk group ,but under-18s are more sensitive. Those in a risk group should consult a physician before using tanning equipment. The risk group includes: pregnant women, people with many moles (more than 50), those with a personal or family history of skin cancer, and those taking medication that increases sensitivity to UV radiation. 




World-wide legislation restricting the use of sun beds

  • In some countries, such as Brazil and South Australia (New South Wales) it is totally forbidden to use sun beds for commercial purposes (this applies throughout Australia since 1.12.2015)
  • Many countries forbid by law the use of sun beds by minors under-18. Among these: Britain (since 2011), Scotland (2009), Belgium (2007), Finland (2012), France (1997), Germany (2009), Portugal (2005), and Spain (2002).
  • In Canada: In January 2018 a new law was passed in Alberta forbidding selling or providing artificial tanning services to minors (under the age of 18 years). This prohibition applies even if the minor has his/her parents' consent to use these services. Alberta thereby joins all other provinces in Canada (10 provinces in total) which protect youngsters from using sunbeds. This new law also prohibits advertising artificial tanning services aimed at minors. .
  • Most states in the USA have a declared policy regarding the use of sun beds that emit UV radiation, but the policy is not uniform. Most States have an age-restriction, and for at least 41 States this refers to minors under-18.Other states have various legal restrictions such as requiring parent/guardian consent for minors to use tanning equipment, demand for eye protection and a request for operators of such salons to restrict exposure time and ensure that it does not exceed the maximum duration recommended by the manufacturer.

On 18.12.2015 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recommendation to restrict use of tanning beds.


According to the recommendation, there is a need to prohibit the use of tanning beds by young people (under 18) as well as additional measures such as obliging the users of sunbeds to sign a consent form addressing the risk of using this equipment.


In addition, it is proposed to require the manufacturers of sunbeds and service providers in this area to take safety measures, e.g. a prominent warning sign, with labels of all products, and a requirement for a panic button to enable cessation of use in case of emergency.