Monitoring the safety of sunbeds and tanning booths

A sunbed ready for use.Using a sunbed or tanning booth is never recommended. Sunbeds expose users to higher levels of dangerous UV radiation than the sun. They increase your risk of melanoma and other skin cancers. They are not a safe way to tan or boost your vitamin D.

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 a sunbed if you:

  • have pale skin that doesn’t tan easily;
  • have lots of freckles and moles;
  • have had skin cancer before; or
  • are under 18 years of age. Even people under 30 are at higher risk.

Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health visits businesses offering commerical sun-bed and tanning services annually and sends a follow-up written reminder 6 months later. These activities aim to ensure that sunbed services are meeting the necessary Standard (AS/NZS 2635:2008 Solaria for cosmetic purposes) and are aware of their legal obligations under the Health Act.

Legal regulations for operating sunbed and tanning services

It is illegal for commercial sunbed operators to allow people those under 18 years of age to use their services, and not complying can result in a fine of up to $10,000.

If in doubt, sunbed operators should ask to see evidence of age. Acceptable forms of identification are a passport, driver’s licence or a Kiwi Access Card.

Voluntary guidelines for operating sunbed and tanning services

The AS/NZS 2635:2008 Solaria for cosmetic purposes Standard outlines guidelines to assist sunbed and tanning services to operate safely.

Sunbed or tanning booth operators should consider:

  • discouraging sunbed services to persons with particular skin types or that are at increased risk of skin cancer;
  • gaining informed consent of users before they artificially tan;
  • having controls on supplying sunbed services, including requiring a 48-hour gap between sessions, and limiting the length of sessions;
  • ensuring those operating sunbeds are well trained.
  • having procedures around not providing sunbed services to those aged under 18 years. This may include taking copies of supplied client identification supplied or recording information on the client’s card (such as passport or drivers licence number).

Documents for sunbed operators


For further information, contact:

Briar Gaynor
Ph: +64 3 364 1777

Melanomas can often be detected using the ABCDEFG system. Source: Melanoma NZ.

Page last updated: 16/11/2023

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