Solariums and tanning

After nearly a decade of campaigning led by Cancer Councils across Australia, commercial solarium units were banned on 1 January 2015. Campaigning featured Clare Oliver's powerful message  No Tan is Worth Dying For. Today it is illegal to operate a commercial solarium anywhere in Australia.

There is no such thing as a safe tan – whether from the sun or a solarium. Tanning is a sign your skin cells are in trauma.

Even if a suntan fades, the damage remains. The more you tan your skin, the greater your risk of skin cancer. If you really want to change your skin tone, try a fake tan as this will not put you at risk of skin cancer. Remember, fake tan won’t protect your skin from UV radiation so sun protection will still be needed.

Solariums and skin cancer

Solariums (also known as sunbeds) are machines that emit intense and damaging levels of UV radiation – up to six times as strong as the midday summer sun.

Research published in 2008 found that 281 melanomas, 43 deaths and 2,572 squamous cell carcinomas were attributable to solarium use in Australia each year, at a cost to the health system of around $3 million.

Solariums are not a safe way to tan and significantly increase your risk of cancer. If you’ve used a solarium, your skin cancer risk is greater than someone who hasn’t.

If you are concerned about your skin cancer risk because of previous solarium use, speak with your GP.

Anyone who has information about alleged illegal solariums should contact the Department of Health and Human Services at or on 1300 767 469.