Article abstract


Introduction: in 2009, ultraviolet-emitting tanning devices, i.e. sunbeds and tanning booths, were officially classified as carcinogenic to human health (Group 1) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

 

Methods: here, we aim to estimate South African-based facilities with indoor tanning services advertised in the printed Yellow Pages and online in two directories. Printed Yellow Pages telephone directory beauty salon facilities listings (2010-14) for all provinces were examined and those mentioning "sunbed" and/or "tanning bed" recorded. Beauty/spa facilities were also identified using two sunbed listing webpages.

 

Results: a total of 40 web-advertised facilities had a sunbed. Beauty facilities in the Yellow Pages specifically mentioning sunbeds declined by 62% between 2010 (n=53) and 2014 (n=20). Gauteng had the highest number of facilities (n=25) with a sunbed. Facilities with sunbeds exist in South Africa, as evidenced by the Yellow Pages and web-advertised data, but their true prevalence remains largely unknown. It is likely that online and walk-by advertising is increasingly more common than print.

 

Conclusion: given that sunbeds may likely soon become regulated in South Africa, further research is needed to better quantify sunbed provision, determine advice provided by facility operators to new users, investigate whether age restrictions or limits exist for sunbed use, and describe typical patterns of sunbed use in South Africa.