Find out what this new ban means for the tanning industry and your business.
The New Rules
In an effort to protect teens from skin cancer, on March 7, Ontario became the seventh province to bring in legislation that bans clients under the age of 18 from using tanning beds. The bill also requires tanning bed operators to request identification from clients who appear under 25, to display signs about the health risks associated with the use of tanning beds, ban advertising and marketing of tanning services targeted to minors and authorize inspectors to inspect and enforce these requirements.
Steven Gilroy, executive director of non-profit Joint Canadian Tanning Association, states that the current average age of UV-tanning clients are 30. In fact, teenagers account for 3 to 5 per cent of growth sales, and the demographic that is seeing significant growth is over the age of 50. “This group is ‘sun-bathing’ versus ‘tanning’, and they want to get UV-exposure for the natural vitamin D production.” Given the way growth sales are led by a more adult demographic, Gilroy predicts that the ban won’t change too much in the UV-tanning industry.
A Welcomed Regulation
In addition, Gilroy adds that responsible UV-tanning is not unlike operating a boat or a vehicle: The problem isn’t with the equipment, it’s about how the equipment is controlled. “You wouldn’t get into a car with someone who doesn’t have a license,” he says. “On our website, tancanada.org, we wrote a 45-page report for the Ontario government in regards to the risks of professional indoor tanning facilities, and we want the government to create professional standards [about machine operation]. The risk is all about how you control equipment, so we need to give certification to staff.”
Currently, there are no provincial standards regarding safe UV-tanning or exposure. “There are two bylaws that control self-tanning. One is in Peel, Ontario that bans self-tanning and the other in Victoria, which states that equipment cannot be operated without supervision in a commercial setting.” Gilroy is also the vice president of Smart Tan Canada, and helped developed a Canadian certification program in 2004, modeled after the Smart Tan in the USA. For more information about how your salon can learn about safe UV-tanning and get certified, visit tancanada.org and smarttan.com
When Teens Still Want a Tan
However, if your spa or tanning salon does want to keep younger clients captivated and safe, sunless tanning and a revised marketing strategy might be options.
Mat Rockey, president of Fabutan Sun Tan Studios, oversees salons and stores in six provinces, three are already operating under stricter regulation. In these provinces, teenage clients are given the “Teen Tan Plan” brochure to bring home to their parents, which outlines ways to obtain safe UV exposure. Both parents and teens are invited to come back to the salon where technicians explain the right ways to tan and risks associated with improper tanning, and parents sign a consent form for their son or daughter. “At Fabutan, clients under the age of 18 make up less than 2 per cent of our business. For all clients, we want to eliminate over-expsure to UV-light both in and out of doors,” says Rockey.
Sunless tanning is also a good option, according to Donna Kuczynski, CEO and owner of DK Luxury Beauty, which also manufactures Pretend Tan. “We’re all about health and wellbeing, and this ban makes parents happy that their teens are being safe with their skin while teens can enjoy a glowing colour. Dermatologists agree that sunless tanning is a safe alternative.”
It’s also important for salons to choose a quality sunless tanning product—the proof is in the product performance—and in turn, talk about the features of sunless tanning to clients. “Look for sunless tanning product that is free of parabens, oil, odour, and does not streak,” says Kuczynski. Salons can retail product to prolong the colour. “The trend today is a lot of sunless tanning at home,” she adds.