When our skin tans in response to being exposed to UV rays outside or in an indoor tanning bed it is an indication of damage to the DNA of those skin cells. This means that no tan is a safe tan. To combat the myth of the “healthy glow” or “healthy tan”, we encourage all Canadians to embrace the skin tone that they have naturally, to protect it, and to never feel pressured to get a tan.
The Canadian Cancer Society is working hard to dispel the myth of the “healthy” tan and to spread awareness about skin cancer by delivering presentations to high schools and post-secondary institutions province-wide, by working with organizations and businesses that employ outdoor workers, and by having a social media presence that encourages enjoying the sun safely and embracing everyone’s natural skin tone.
This is what the Tan Free Movement in Saskatchewan is all about. We hope that you decide to become involved.
High school students
Graduating from high school is an important moment in anyone’s life, and graduates want to look their best for the special occasion! Unfortunately, tanning beds are often associated with grad season and we want to make sure that students don’t feel the need to alter their skin tone before they graduate. We know that when someone under the age of 35 uses an indoor tanning device they increase their risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 59%. The risk just isn’t worth it.
For the past three years, the Canadian Cancer Society has been working with high schools across the province to implement a student-led initiative called “Tan Free Grad”. Schools in Prince Albert, North Battleford, Weyburn, Moose Jaw, Fort Qu’Appelle, Melfort and Saskatoon have taken on the challenge. Student committees in all of these locations worked hard to make posters, deliver or schedule presentations, host awareness lunches with the UV camera and encourage signed pledges from students that they would be going to grad tan-free. In 2015, over 2000 students heard a Tan-Free presentation, approximately 1000 had they UV photo taken to learn about sun damage, and over 600 students pledged that they would be going to graduation embracing natural, healthy skin tone.
New indoor tanning legislation in Saskatchewan
The Saskatchewan government announced in 2015 that they would be moving forward with indoor tanning legislation to protect minors from those devices, and as of November 2015 minors (under the age of 18) are no longer able to legally use those indoor tanning beds. We applaud the Saskatchewan government for moving forward on this issue!
With the introduction of this legislation, we know that most high school students will be protected from the risks of indoor tanning devices; however we still have lots of work to do to debunk the myths around indoor and outdoor tanning. We encourage all high schools across the province to consider booking a presentation and UV camera session for their students. The information is so valuable and just might save a student’s life.
Book a presentation at your local high school
To spread the tan free messaging among those who are not yet protected by indoor tanning legislation in our province, we offer presentations and UV camera sessions to post-secondary institutions across the province. In 2016, we presented at over 12 post-secondary institutions province-wide and will be continuing to work with interested institutions and post-secondary programs over the coming years. We’ve exposed over a 1000 post-secondary students from a variety of backgrounds (education, nursing, pharmacy, and more) to the Tan-Free messaging with the hopes that they can use it themselves and be future educators about UV safety in the future.
Book a presentation for your post-secondary institution or program