Ultraviolet radiation (UV)

Artificial tanning sunbeds

The desire to acquire a tan for fashion or cosmetic purposes has led to the development of a large artificial tanning industry in mostly western countries where many residents have pale skins. In general sunbeds predominantly emit UVA radiation which is thought to be the least damaging of the UV radiation spectrum. However in recent years, sunbeds have been manufactured that produce higher levels of UVB to mimic the solar spectrum and speed the tanning process.

artificial tanning

25 per cent of Northern European artificial sunbed users are in the 16-24 year-old group. As yet, evidence for an association between sunbed use and increased melanoma risk is suggestive but not conclusive. The INTERSUN Program continues to promote research in the health effects of sunbed use and continuously updates its recommendations based on the results.

While the WHO does not recommend the use of UV tanning devices for cosmetic purposes, it is recognized that sunbeds continue to be available to the public. For this reason there is a need for guidance to reduce the risks associated with their use.