We Are Sunshine

Warning Labels on Tanning Equipment Put in Perspective

Friday, April 25th, 2008

It’s a good question – one that does have a good answer, but which we all sometimes forget. A close look at our warning labels and our consent forms reveals the answer:

DANGER: Ultraviolet radiation. Follow instructions. Avoid overexposure. As with natural sunlight, overexposure can cause eye and skin injury and allergic reactions. Repeated exposure may cause premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.

2008-04-25-label-me-copy.jpgWEAR PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR; FAILURE TO MAY RESULT IN SEVERE BURNS OR LONG-TERM INJURY TO THE EYES. Medications or cosmetics may increase your sensitivity to the ultraviolet radiation. Consult physician before using sunlamp if you are using medications or have a history of skin problems or believe yourself especially sensitive to sunlight. If you do not tan in the sun, you are unlikely to tan from use of this product.”

The language on that form reflects the fact that a client does need to know that overexposure to UV light may increase one’s risk of skin damage in the future. And that’s fair – after all, we’re not in the business of selling overexposure.

It’s much like the consent form one signs at a fitness facility. Those forms usually mention the fact that abuse of fitness equipment can result in injury. Both cases discuss the potential ramifications if the service is abused in excess. In neither case is there evidence that responsible use of the equipment when following directions increases one’s risk of injury.

“Our society is full of these types of warnings that are good ideas, yet sometimes have language that goes over-the-top,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “I recently purchased a product called Perfect Pushup – handles that allow you to adjust the angle of your wrists while you do push-ups. Most everyone agrees that push-ups are pretty benign exercises, yet the Perfect Push-up warning label said the product could kill me.”

The Perfect Push-up warning reads:

Warning! Fitness training can result in serious or fatal injury. Risk of injury can be lessened when safe technique and common sense are practiced. Consult with your physician before beginning this or any exercise program. Always check equipment for worn or damaged parts before using. If any defects are found do not use this product.

“I didn’t realize push-ups might kill me.” Levy said. “It’s a good thing the packaging was there to protect me from myself. On the other hand, that warning label makes our tanning warning statement look pretty tame in comparison, doesn’t it?”

The professional indoor tanning business is all about teaching people how to avoid excess outdoors, and to control their exposure indoors to minimize their risk of sunburn. The warning label on our equipment doesn’t change that.