Skin Cancer

The sun has always been a natural part of our environment. But some forms of the sun's energy can be harmful.

As the ozone layer, our planet's sunscreen, has thinned over the past few decades our natural protection against the harmful effects of its radiation is decreasing.

Research shows that ultraviolet (UV) exposure can lead to skin cancer as well as contribute to cataract development (a condition of the eye), skin aging and limited ability of our bodies to fight disease.
There are two main types of skin cancer: Melanoma and Non-melanoma.


Some risks that may make you more susceptible to UV ray damage are:

  • Light coloured skin, eyes and hair
  • Skin that freckles easily
  • Large number of moles
  • Work, play or exercise in the sun for long periods of time
  • Blistering sunburns during childhood
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Weakened immune system
  • Use of tanning beds

However, some people develop skin cancer and other UV-related damage without any of these risk factors.

Artificial Tanning

The Canadian Cancer Society states that No Tan is a Safe Tan.

Artificial tanning is not a safe alternative to natural tanning. Exposure to UVA and UVB radiation from the sun or from tanning lamps can lead to sunburn which damages skin and increases the risk of skin cancer.

The risk of melanoma (the most dangerous form of skin cancer) is 75% greater for those who use tanning beds before the age of 35, compared to those who have not used tanning beds.

As of May 1st 2014, a new Ontario law bans youth under the age of 18 from using tanning beds. To learn more about the Skin Cancer Prevention Act (Tanning Beds), 2013 and its requirements, click here.

Under this new law, owners and operators of tanning beds must abide by a number of specific requirements. For information on the new requirements for local owners and operators of tanning services, click here. 

Sun Safety

For information on sun safety, check the Sun Safety page.