The fashion of solarium use is extremely widespread all over the world.  In Greece the use of solarium is particularly extensive - you can locate solariums almost everywhere - from hotels and beauty salons, gyms, and slimming centres!   There are persons that use a solarium more than twenty times annually in order to attain a permanently tanned skin as well as the time spent in the sun in order to maintain this tan.

However there is an alert! It is already proven, that as long as skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation, damage is accumulated in the DNA cells. With the passage of time these damages can be transformed into skin cancer.

According to the researchers, the danger of growth of skin cancer from the direct use of solariums almost has tripled in one decade.


This is due to the fact that solarium centres uses appliances of artificial tanning equipment with stronger light rays; as well these units emit up to double UVA and UVB radiation than solariums that were used a decade before.


It is not accidental, that in 2006 the responsible scientific committee of European Union published for the first time a SOS report for the solarium, warning: (1) that their radiation was not innocent, as it was believed up to then from a lot of consumer. On the contrary- use of solariums  increased the probabilities of event of malignant melanoma.

 (2) solariums increased the chances of growth of melanoma in the eyes. Despite the all warnings issues on the dangers of solarium use that it is now essentially to wear protection visors.  More specifically, the committee’s  decision was based on a comprehensive review of current research, which showed tanning bed use raised the risk of melanoma of the skin by 75% when use started before the age of 30. The research also found a link between tanning bed use and risk of melanoma of the eye.


Moreover, in 2008, the results of a study that was carried out in Scotland, proving that 83% of solariums exceeded the limits of allowed secure radiation in infra red radiation, thus increasing the danger of cancer at 2,7 times. This lead the European Union to publish for a second time a SOS report for solarium useage, warning again that the radiation increased the probabilities of malignant cancer. Thus the public became aware of the measures that had to be taken. In most of the EC countries measures were taken that regulated the function of tanning salons that offered solarium services, since many tanning salons were unregulated, allowing customers (especially those with fair skin that tan poorly) access to tanning beds without supervision or eye protection.

In spite of claims that tanning beds offer "safe" tanning, indoor tanning equipment, which includes all artificial light sources such as beds, lamps, bulbs, booths, etc., emits UVA and UVB radiation. The amount of the radiation produced during indoor tanning is similar to the sun and in some cases may be stronger. Studies have demonstrated that exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning damages the DNA in the skin cells. Also, excessive exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning can lead to skin aging, immune suppression, and eye damage, including cataracts and ocular melanoma.  According to a recent study that was carried out in the Institute of Research for Melanoma in Sydney,Australia - UVA radiation penetrates more deeply into the skin, so that it attacks in the cells of more inferior layers of the skin, from its “cousin”  UVB  radiation.


There is an intentional misleading advertisement.

Previously, the cancer-causing effects of ultraviolet light were thought to be primarily related to UVB, or ultraviolet B radiation. However new reports now extend the cancer-causing effects of solar or sun-related radiation to UVA light, as well. The lamps of solarium emit mainly UVA radiation, which has been proved that it causes mutations in the cellular DNA of the human skin and hence is accountable as a carcinogenic!   The problem is obviously more serious if we consider the fact that advertising is promising protection given to the artificially tanned skin. Based on results from measurements related with the small indicator of protection from UVB radiation similar measurements are offered in larger  quantities of UVA radiation are not feasible, due to the fact that this particular radiation still does not have any internationally acceptable measure and determined indicator of protection. Thus the degree of danger from the use solarium cannot be determined with precision.

Tanning beds pose a greater cancer risk than previously believed, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the World Health Organization (WHO) agency that developed the most widely used system for classifying carcinogens. The group has elevated tanning beds to its highest cancer risk category – "carcinogenic to humans". Tanning beds had previously been classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans."     In 2007, in the European Community, the Tanning Accountability and Notification Act, or TAN Act, became a law. This law requires each EC country to determine whether the current labeling of indoor tanning beds provides sufficient information about the risks associated with indoor tanning and whether modifying the warning label required on tanning beds to read "Ultraviolet radiation can cause skin cancer" would more effectively communicate the risks of skin cancer.

SOS reports provide professional advice for the use of solariums in Greece.


 In 2008, almost 5% of Greeks indicated they went to the doctor in order to be examined for melanoma – declaring that they had used solariums and tanning beds at least once. However, unlike other EU countries, Greece beauty salons offering solarium services are functioning without control, and without authorization, since there is still no relevant regulatory framework for their foundation and their operation, offering false promises for “an absolutely safe tan”.


Thus a big percentage of the Greek population is exposed in artificial ultraviolet radiation that has potential repercussions for skin health. Unfortunately there exists a high level of ignorance around the use of solariums. Young people in particular, who are the heaviest users of tanning beds  - are at the greatest risk of causing harm to themselves.


Who are the groups of high risk.   

According to the Scientific Committee for Consuming Products (SCCP) of the European Union, the ultraviolet radiation of solarium dramatically increases the danger of melanoma to:
• Those who easily suffer from sun burn 
• Those who do not tan
• Those who have freckles.
• Those who have a large number of moles.
• Those who have family or personal history of skin cancer
• Young people under 18 years old