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Salon Procedures 

Indoor tanning salon owners and operators have a responsibility to operate their tanning facility under the structure of well-developed, up to date and principled procedures. The negative effects of overexposure to ultraviolet light are well established. The following list is considered to be a general and responsible list of operating procedures.

NOTE: If your state has specific regulations regarding the operation of an indoor tanning salon, your state regulations must be included in your salon procedural policies.


1.   All consumers, prior to the first tanning session at the tanning facility should be required to sign and date a warning statement that has been read and understood. The tanning facility operator should require the consumer to complete a detailed medical and skin history form. An operator should review the warning statement, medical and skin typing information prior to the consumers first tanning session or upon any renewal of information. These documents should be signed and dated on the customers initial visit, and should be renewed at least annually thereafter.

2.   Prior to the first tanning session, a minor's parent or legal guardian should sign and complete a warning statement, and a detailed medical and skin history form for the minor in the presence of a facility operator.

3.   Consumer's use of medications should be discussed and documented by a tanning operator upon the initial visit by the consumer. Certain chemical substances contained in various drugs, perfumes, foods or cosmetics can result in a photosensitive reaction. Caution should be exercised when exposing any individual taking or topically applying any medications for treatment. If in doubt, have the consumer consult their doctor or pharmacist prior to tanning. A potentially photosensitive drugs and substances list must be available at all times and posted within the tanning facility.

4.   If the consumer meets the basic profile of a tanner (skin type 2 and above, not on a photosensitive medication, hasn't tanned within the last 24 hours), then the initial exposure time should be determined by a knowledgeable tanning operator. The exposure time should be determined by the requirements of the FDA product labeling at the time of manufacture.

5.   Each time a consumer tans they must have protective eyewear compliant with the FDA's regulations (21 CFR 1040.20(c) (4)). A trained operator should instruct the consumer in the proper use of the eyewear prior to allowing the consumer to tan for the first time. Periodically, the eyewear should be inspected for cracks and worn or missing straps. Consumers refusing to wear protective eyewear should not be allowed to tan. The consumer should be instructed to wear the eyewear so it fits properly. If the eyewear is designed with elastic straps, they should be present during use. The facility operator should explain to each consumer, prior to an initial tanning session, why protective eyewear is important for use during the tanning session. Eyewear provided by the tanning facility must be sanitized prior to consumer use (unless disposable eyewear is used).


1.   Prior to the first tanning session, a facility operator should give the consumer complete instructions on how to operate the tanning equipment. Examples include: Location of the on/off switch, how to lift and lower the canopy; description of user positioning to such as comfort positions; and an explanation of cooling systems such as fans. The salon staff must instruct the consumer as to the location and proper operation of the tanning equipment's emergency shut-off switch.

2.   All tanning equipment must be equipped with an override timer control and be located outside the room where the tanning device is located. Timers should always to set by knowledgeable tanning salon staff.


1.   After each use, the tanning equipment must be properly cleaned with an EPA approved sanitizer and must be cleaned by a salon employee. The sanitizer shall be intended for use on tanning equipment and shall be mixed according to the directions stated on the container. Areas such as pillows, handles, acrylic surfaces and other areas that come in contact with consumers must be properly sanitized.

2.   Protective eyewear must be sanitized prior to use (unless disposable) by a salon employee. The sanitizer used must be appropriate for use on eyewear and mixed according to the manufacturer's instructions. The eyewear should be cleaned to remove buildup of mascara, etc. Straps must also be sanitized. The eyewear should be soaked if indicated by the sanitizer instructions.


1.   Defective lamps and filters should be replaced with a type recommended and specified by the tanning equipment manufacturer. Replacement lamps or filters should have accompanying FDA compliancy information to prove equivalency or certification.

2.   The salon owner should ensure replacement of lamps at the frequency specified by the manufacturer of the product or when a UV metering test shows a substantial decline in lamp production.

3.   Maintenance should be performed on tanning equipment when noticeable deficiencies in equipment function are noted or as recommended by the manufacturer in the Users' Instruction Manual that comes with the equipment. A manual should be kept at the tanning facility for each piece of tanning equipment used. Testing of emergency cut-off switches and timer accuracy should be part of a routine salon procedure list.


1.   A record of the consumer's total number of tanning visits, dates, equipment used and duration of tanning exposure should be maintained at the facility. The skin type should be recorded and located so the operator can use this information to determine exposure times for subsequent visits. 

2.   Invoices and maintenance notes should be kept for two years documenting repairs and replacement of parts on the tanning equipment. Lamp equivalency documents should also be maintained at the tanning facility. All equipment maintenance should be documented in a maintenance log. Dates, maintenance performed, and the person's name and initials performing the maintenance should be recorded in the log. Also, documentation of emergency off switch and timer accuracy testing should be maintained in the maintenance log.

3.   The tanning facility should maintain records of Facility Specific Training and Formal Training for all current and past salon employees.


1.   The tanning facility should insure that a policy is in place to address the handling of consumer complaints involving actual or alleged UV exposure injury. Each tanning facility operator should be aware of these procedures.

A. The following procedures may be used: If a whole body overexposure to ultraviolet light occurs, the effects may be delayed several hours. However, medical advice should be sought as soon as possible. The attending physician needs to be told the amount of time the customer was supposed to tan versus the actual time tanned.

B. Exposure to ultraviolet light should be stopped at once. For mild sunburn, cool compresses may be helpful. Do not use ?caine' anesthetics, which could induce severe allergies.

C. If an eye injury is noted, immediately refer your client to an Emergency Room or Ophthalmologists (not an Optometrist or Optician).

2.   A facility report should be filled out as soon as the client's needs are handled. The report should include the following information:

a.       The name, address and telephone number of the injured person.

b.      The tanning facility name, address and phone number.

c.       Name of staff on duty.

d.      Diagnosed or documented injury type for either actual or alleged consumer injury and the name of the attending physician if applicable.

e.       A copy of all the customer's medical, skin and exposure history.

f.        All other relevant information involving the consumer injury.

g.       A reminder to contact the tanning facility owner or management as soon as reasonable to do so.


Use the table below to determine skin type. Caucasians make up type 1 through 4 with types 5 and 6 being very brown skin or black.



Always burns easily and severely, then peels -  never tans, very fair skin, red or blond hair & freckles (unexposed skin is white)


Burns easily, tans minimally or lightly and peels, usually fair skinned (unexposed skin is white)


Burns moderately, tans eventually (unexposed skin is white)


Burns minimally, always tans well (unexposed skin is white)


Rarely burns; tans easily and substantially. Brown-skinned persons, unexposed skin is brown (East Indians, Hispanics, etc.).


Tans profusely and never burns. Persons with black skin (Africans and African Americans, Australian and South Indian Aborigines).

*A true skin type 1 should not be allowed to tan indoor or out.

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