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, a solarium or a collarium. 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.

What about collariums?

A collarium is similar to a solarium sunbed but rather than the typical blue lights of a solarium, it emits UV radiation and red light wavelengths that claim to “stimulate collagen” while providing a tan.

The UVA radiation produced by a collarium does not stimulate collagen or elastin production but breaks it down and can cause more rapid skin-aging.

The use of any sunbeds, including collariums, that change the colour of your skin and produce a tan are emitting harmful UV and will increase your risk of developing skin cancer. 

Anyone can report the use or advertisement of commercial solariums or collariums to the Department of Health Radiation Team on


1300 767 469 (from 9am - 1pm, Monday - Friday) or email .