The professional indoor tanning industry promotes responsible indoor tanning and sunburn prevention as “smart.” We choose not to use the word “safe.” Here is why:
The word “safe” implies that one can recklessly abuse something without any fear of causing harm. And reckless abandon certainly is not the behavior the professional indoor tanning industry is teaching. In fact, we are playing a key role in successfully preventing that kind of reckless abuse. By teaching a “smart” approach to sunburn prevention that recognizes that people do perceive different benefits from being in the sun, we are able to teach sunburn prevention in a practical way that respects both the potential benefits and the risks of sun exposure.For example, previous generations believed that sunburn was an inconvenient but necessary precursor to developing a tan. Today we know better, and we are teaching a new generation of tanners how to avoid sunburn at all costs. Again, our position: Moderate tanning is the best way to maximize the potential benefits of sun exposure while minimizing the potential risks of either too much or too little exposure.
Indoor tanning, if you can develop a tan, is an intelligent way to minimize the risk of sunburn while maximizing the enjoyment and benefit of having a tan. We call this “smart tanning” because tanners are taught by trained tanning facility personnel how their skin type reacts to sunlight and how to avoid sunburn outdoors, as well as in a salon.
Tanning in a professional facility today minimizes risk because, thanks to standards established by the industry in conjunction with government authorities in the United States and Canada, exposure times for every tanning session are established by a schedule present on every piece of equipment that takes into account the tanner’s skin type and the intensity of the equipment. That enables a trained operator to deliver a dosage of sunlight designed to induce a suntan while minimizing the risk of sunburn. The schedule, as regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada, also takes into account how long an individual has been tanning, increasing exposure times gradually to minimize the possibility of burning. That kind of control is impossible outdoors, where variables including seasonality, time of day, weather conditions, reflective surfaces and altitude all make outdoor tanning a random act and sunburn prevention more difficult.