Using a sunbed is never recommended. They are not a safe way to tan or boost your vitamin D.

Sunbeds expose users to higher levels of dangerous UV radiation than the sun. They increase your risk of melanoma and other skin cancers.

You’re more at risk of skin cancer the more often you use sunbeds, and the younger you start using them. Your skin will also age more quickly.

Some people are especially at risk. Never use sunbeds if you:

  • have pale skin that doesn’t tan easily, or lots of freckles and moles
  • have had skin cancer before
  • are under 18 (even people under 30 are at higher risk).

From 4 January 2017, commercial sunbed operators are not allowed to offer sunbed sessions to under-18s.

Read the Cancer Society information sheet on sunbeds (PDF, 250 KB) to find out more about the risks.

Guidelines for sunbed operators

There are voluntary guidelines for sunbed operators, set out in the standard AS/NZS 2635:2008 Solaria for cosmetic purposes. However, many sunbed operators do not follow these guidelines.

The Consumer New Zealand report on sunbeds has more information on sunbed operator compliance.

Since 2012, public health units have done 6-monthly surveys of sunbed operators. A summary of the latest public health unit findings is available in the following report from EMF Services.

To read previous reports, visit the EMF Services website.

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