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Tanning Salon Regulations Guide: What You Need to Know

Ensure your tanning salon follows all regulations for client safety and compliance. Our guide covers key rules, from consent forms to equipment standards.

Hey there, tanning salon owner! I know I know – regulations can be a real buzzkill. But trust me, staying on top of all the rules and guidelines is crucial for keeping your clients safe and your business thriving.

As someone who’s been in the industry for years, I’ve seen firsthand how important it is to dot your i’s and cross your t’s when it comes to tanning salon regulations. It’s not just about avoiding fines and legal trouble (although that’s a bonus!) – it’s about creating a space where your clients feel confident and protected.

So, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of tanning salon regulations, shall we? I promise to keep things as painless as possible, with a dash of humor and plenty of practical tips. By the end of this guide, you’ll be a bona fide expert on all things compliance and safety. Let’s do this!

Understanding Tanning Salon Regulations Guide

Tanning salon regulations guide every aspect of running a tanning business. There’s a lot to keep up with from equipment standards to customer safety. As a tanning salon owner for over a decade, I’ve seen firsthand how important it is to stay on top of the ever-changing landscape of tanning regulations. It’s not just about avoiding fines – it’s about protecting your clients and your reputation.

Federal Regulations for Tanning Salons

Tanning salon owners and operators are governed by laws at the local, state and federal levels. When discussing federal guidelines , most people realize the FDA is a governing body. Its guidelines typically deal with the recommended manufacturing, labeling, and usage of tanning equipment. However, when considering federal rules, all tanning facility owners and operators also fall under additional restrictions enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

State-Specific Tanning Salon Laws

Each state has its own set of rules regarding tanning salons. From age restrictions to consent forms, navigating these laws can seem daunting. Keeping up with tanning bed laws by state is more than just a regulatory requirement; it’s about ensuring the safety of your clients and the integrity of your business.

Importance of Compliance

The stakes are high—failing to comply can result in fines and damage your reputation. Let’s explore what you need to know so that you can focus on delivering that golden glow safely at your tanning salon. Complying with state and federal laws isn’t just about avoiding penalties. It’s about creating a safe, responsible environment for your clients to achieve their tanning goals.

Client Consent and Age Restrictions

One of the most critical aspects of running a tanning salon is ensuring that you have proper consent from your clients and are adhering to age restrictions. As someone who’s been in the industry for years, I can tell you that these regulations aren’t just red tape – they’re in place to protect both your business and your clients.

Obtaining Informed Consent

Before any client steps into a tanning bed, they must understand the risks and give their informed consent. This means providing them with clear information about the potential dangers of UV exposure and having them sign a consent form. In my salon, we use detailed tanning forms that cover everything from skin typing to medical history. We want our clients to feel fully informed and empowered to make the best decisions for their health.

Adhering to Age Restrictions

More than a third of indoor tanning salons are ignoring state laws that prevent teens and children from using UV tanning beds, according to a study in JAMA Dermatology. As a salon owner, it’s your responsibility to know and adhere to the age restrictions in your state. Anyone under 18 is prohibited from using tanning beds in many places.

Maintaining Accurate Records

Keeping detailed, accurate records is essential for compliance with age restrictions and consent regulations. In my salon, we maintain secure digital files for each client, including signed consent forms and proof of age. Regular audits of these records help ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. It’s not the most glamorous part of the job, but it’s crucial for protecting your business and clients.

Tanning Equipment and Safety Standards

The heart of any tanning salon is its equipment. From tanning beds to sunlamp products, it’s essential that your devices meet rigorous safety standards to protect your clients’ health. As a salon owner, I’ve learned that investing in high-quality, compliant equipment isn’t just a legal obligation – it’s a smart business move that helps build trust with your clients.

Meeting Performance Standards

All tanning equipment must meet strict performance standards set by the FDA. These standards cover everything from timer accuracy to UV output, ensuring that devices deliver consistent, controlled doses of UV light. As a salon operator, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your equipment meets these standards. Regular maintenance and servicing by qualified technicians is essential.

Providing Protective Eyewear

Protective eyewear is a must for every tanning session. Overexposure to UV light can cause severe eye damage, including cataracts and corneal inflammation. Many tanning salons provide clients with sanitized, FDA-compliant goggles designed specifically for indoor tanning. Educate clients on the importance of wearing eye protection and ensure they put on their goggles before starting their session.

Adhering to Exposure Times

Tanning sessions should never exceed the maximum exposure times recommended by the equipment manufacturer. These carefully calculated limits help minimize the risk of skin damage and burning. Many tanning salons start new clients with short sessions and gradually increase exposure times as their skin acclimates. Also, carefully monitor each client’s skin type and adjust session lengths accordingly.

Displaying Warning Labels

All tanning equipment must display clear, prominent warning labels about the risks of UV exposure. These labels serve as essential reminders to clients and help ensure informed consent. In your tanning salon, make sure these labels are always visible and in good condition, and verbally reinforce their messages during client consultations.

Implementing Safety Precautions

In addition to meeting equipment standards, tanning salons must implement a range of safety precautions to protect clients and staff. This includes providing adequate ventilation, maintaining clean and sanitary conditions, and having trained operators on hand at all times. In my years running a salon, I’ve learned that going above and beyond when it comes to safety isn’t just a legal requirement – it’s a way to show your clients that you truly care about their well-being. From using hospital-grade disinfectants to investing in advanced air filtration, small details can make a big difference. By prioritizing equipment safety and implementing thorough precautions, you can create a tanning environment that clients trust and feel good about visiting.

Key Takeaway: 


Staying on top of tanning salon regulations is key, not just to avoid fines but for client safety and your business’s reputation. This means keeping up with federal and state laws, getting proper consent, adhering to age restrictions, maintaining records accurately, ensuring equipment meets safety standards, providing protective eyewear, sticking to recommended exposure times, displaying warning labels clearly, and implementing strict safety precautions. It all boils down to creating a safe space where clients can confidently achieve their tanning goals.


Regular Inspections and Compliance Monitoring

If you’re running a tanning salon, you know that regular inspections are a must. It’s not just about keeping the local government happy – it’s about ensuring the safety of your clients and your business.

Preparing for Inspections

When inspectors swing by, they’ll look closely to ensure your salon meets all the safety standards. This involves giving the equipment a good once-over to ensure everything works as it should, double-checking that all the safety bells and whistles are in place, and ensuring we’re sticking to those super-important cleanliness and health rules.

As the tweet above mentions, local health departments often have more resources to keep a close eye on tanning facilities. So, it’s crucial to stay on top of your game and be ready for those inspections.

Addressing Non-Compliance Issues

Now, what happens if an inspection uncovers some issues? First off, don’t panic. Work with the inspector to understand what needs to be fixed and create a plan to address it ASAP. Salon owners need to remember that if any products pose a risk to the health of users, the FDA is prepared and authorized to take regulatory action. Safety may be enforced through mandatory or voluntary recalls, injunctions, and imposition of fines or seizure.

Staying Up-to-Date with Regulations

Regulations in the tanning industry can change faster than your clients’ skin tone after a session. That’s why it’s so important to stay informed. Although these regulations were written specifically for manufacturers, salon owners and operators should be familiar with the rules to help them run a secure and more comfortable salon. Knowledge of the regulations also will prove beneficial when educating salon employees and customers. Staying on the right side of the rules means keeping your safety playbook current, ensuring your team gets regular training, and not forgetting those all-important equipment checks and tune-ups. Also, jotting down these details accurately can prove you’re on the right side of the rules when it’s time for those inspections to roll around.

Staff Training and Customer Education

Running a top-notch tanning salon isn’t just about having the latest equipment. It’s also about having a team that knows their stuff and can educate clients on safe tanning practices.

Proper Staff Training

As the Department of Health proposes new rules for tanning salons, it’s more important than ever to ensure your staff is properly trained. They should know the ins and outs of your equipment, understand the risks associated with UV exposure, and be able to guide clients through the tanning process safely.

Educating Customers on Risks and Safety

Your clients trust you with their skin, so it’s crucial to educate them on the potential risks of indoor tanning and how to minimize them. This includes discussing the importance of using protective eyewear, adhering to recommended exposure times, and understanding the signs of overexposure. Owners and operators of tanning equipment should be aware of and adhere to the requirements for tanning equipment as outlined under the Radiation Emitting Devices Regulations (Tanning Equipment) (Appendix A), and refer to them as needed. In addition, owners, operators, and users of tanning equipment should follow the guidelines listed below, which have been developed specifically for their adherence.

Assessing Skin Type

Not all skin is created equal when it comes to tanning. That’s why it’s essential to assess each client’s skin type and tailor their tanning program accordingly. This helps prevent burns and other adverse reactions. Only tanning equipment that complies with the Regulations should be used for tanning purposes.

Providing Appropriate Eye Protection

One of the most critical aspects of safe tanning is protecting the eyes. All sunlamp products must have a warning label, an accurate timer, an emergency stop control, and include an exposure schedule and protective goggles. Make sure your salon has a variety of protective eyewear options available and that your staff is trained on how to properly sanitize them between uses.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

So, what happens if you don’t play by the rules? Trust me, it’s not pretty.

Legal Ramifications

If you are careless about the rules at a tanning salon, you could end up in hot water. Salons operating outside the law may face fines, legal action, and even closure. Salon owners need to remember that if any products pose a risk to the health of users, the FDA is prepared and authorized to take regulatory action. Safety may be enforced through mandatory or voluntary recalls, injunctions, and imposition of fines or seizure.

Health Risks for Customers

Non-compliance isn’t just a legal issue – it’s a health issue. 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. When salons don’t follow proper safety protocols, they put their clients at risk for skin damage, premature aging, and even skin cancer.

Damage to Salon Reputation

Word travels fast in the beauty industry, and a salon with a reputation for non-compliance can quickly find itself struggling to attract clients. Not following the rules can cause more than legal headaches. Non-compliant salons put the health and safety of their clients at risk, which can lead to negative publicity, loss of customer trust, and damage to the salon’s reputation. The stakes are high—failing to comply can result in fines and damage your reputation. Let’s explore what you need to know so that you can focus on delivering that golden glow safely at your tanning salon.

Key Takeaway: 


Staying on top of safety and compliance isn’t just about dodging fines—it’s key to keeping your clients safe and your salon in business. Regularly check equipment, keep up with training, and educate your customers on safe tanning practices. Address issues fast to avoid legal trouble or harming your rep.



Phew, that was a lot of information to take in, wasn’t it? But hey, you made it through our tanning salon regulations guide like a champ! Pat yourself on the back.

Remember, staying compliant and prioritizing safety isn’t just about jumping through hoops – it’s about creating a business that you can be proud of and truly puts your clients first. By following these guidelines and staying up-to-date with any changes, you’ll be well on your way to running a successful, reputable tanning salon.

So, keep that tanning bed sparkling, those consent forms signed, and that positive attitude is shining bright. Your clients (and your peace of mind) will thank you for it. Now go out there and keep spreading that sunny glow, you regulation rockstar!

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