Sunbed Use By Under 18

SCOTLAND - The law came into force on 1 December 2009. It is illegal to allow anyone under 18 to use, purchase or hire a sunbed.

ENGLAND AND WALES - The law came into force on 8 April 2011. It is illegal to allow anyone under 18 to use a sunbed.

NORTHERN IRELAND - The law came into force on 1 May 2012. It is illegal to allow anyone under 18 to use a sunbed.


Skin Typing

Our skin type is something we are born with and we cannot change it!
There are six basic categories of skin type. See if you can identify your skin type using the table below. Your TSA sunbed operator will always assist you.
Skin Type Skin Description Reaction to Tanning

1 Very fair    

Usually, lots of freckles, red or sandy hair; blue or grey eyes High burn risk; skin turns red and peels.
Advised not to tan in sunlight
Do NOT use a sunbed

2 Fair
Possibly with freckles; blond to brown hair, green and grey eyes High burn risk. Great care should be taken in tanning.
Tanning tends to be light

3 Fair to light brown
No freckles; dark blond or brown hair, grey or green eyes Medium risk of burning. Capable of building up a moderate tan

4 Light brown
Dark brown hair and eyes Burning is rare; tanning is rapid and deep
See additional note below

5 Deep brown skin
Dark hair and eyes Burning is seldom; tanning is rapid and deep. This type of skin has its own natural protection.
See additional note below

6 Very dark skin
Black hair and dark eyes Never burn in natural sunlight.

See additional note below


NB: Skin Types 4, 5 and 6: These skin types need to exercise precaution on initial exposure. Initial exposure should also be moderate. This particularly applies if living in the UK and Ireland as natural skin protection factor is depleted through lack of regular exposure to the sunshine.



Can I Use a Sunbed?

Most people are able to use a sunbed but there are exceptions. If you answer YES to any of the questions below, you must NOT use a sunbed:

  • Are you aged under 18?

  • Do you always burn in natural sunlight?

  • Do you have a medical condition that becomes worse in sunlight?

  • Do you have an excessive amount of moles and/or freckles?

  • Do you have a history of sunburn, particularly from childhood?

  • Do you have skin cancer or does any member of your immediate family have/had skin cancer?

Also, if you are on any medication or drugs, please check with your GP or pharmacist before using a sunbed as certain drugs make the skin more sensitive to UV light. If you are pregnant, consult your GP before use.