Home > Blog

Tan or no tan? Melbourne's top models banned from solarium tanning

Thursday 1 March, 2012 by Cairín

Melbourne's top models  have been banned from using sunbeds before next week's L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Great news given that research shows that using a sunbed  before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75 per cent. A recent Australian study also estimated that one in six melanomas in young Australians, aged 18 to 29, would be prevented if solariums were shut down.

So it's great to see the fashion industry speak out against these cancerous machines and they should be congratulated on this really positive step to support a move to ban them entirely, as they have done in New South Wales. Now not only do we have health agencies advocating for a state wide solarium ban but the fashion world too.

Yet this is certainly not the last we'll see of copper-coloured catwalk beauties blazing their bronzed way across magazines, catalogues and screens. Spray tans will be used to create that suntanned look with fashion still dictating that a little bit of colour makes you look better.

And to be fair, it's not just the fashionistas who think this. Many a heated argument has arisen between my friends and family and I over this very topic. What looks better - natural skin or the tanned look?

Spending much of my misspent youth, trying to achieve that fashionable sun kissed look ended abruptly for me when I had a personal experience of skin cancer. Now I am vehemently against tanning of any kind, even fake. Why would anyone condone risking their health for the sake of a "little bit of colour." And fake tan, presumably a much safer alternative (although I wonder about another lot of chemicals being lathered onto our skin) just perpetuates the idea that a tan is desirable and equates to being beautiful. This surely encourages young, impressionable people to forgo the sunscreen just for a few minutes, as a little colour is okay.

But every exposure is doing you damage and increases your risk of skin cancer.

Maybe I just need to accept that fake tan will always be popular and hope that people realise it is the only acceptable means to achieve the tanned look.

What do you think? If models are tanned at fashion week are young people still going to desire a tan, and attempt to get one using any means?

Do you think the fashion will ever discourage altering skin colour to capture a certain look, thereby emboldening people to accept and love the skin that they are in?

Tan or no tan - what do you think?


I’m positive about the message, but I think the fashion industry shouldn’t be given much applause for their stance. On high fashion runways the problem certainly isn’t *too much* colour. Just take a look at the L’Oreal Fashion Festival pages, pale and white tends to be the rule (and has been for while), and there is an obvious lack of ethnic diversity. For high fashion models tanned skin is not desirable, which is not the case for their commercial and catalogue counterparts, and unfortunately this aesthetic is promoted for reasons unrelated to health. It’s an easy move for them to take an anti-tanning stance because tanning was never a problem in the first place. Overall it’s a good message, but this is a bad forum for it. It would be great to see it carried over into more appropriate venues with commercial and catalogue models, where the tanned look is certainly in vogue and may have greater capacity to reach to general population.

From: Ashley, 15/04/2013

Leave a comment

Read our blog participation guidelines and join the discussion. (Please note: Your first name will appear with your comment, but your surname and email address will not be shown.)

Security Code   Change Image
Write the characters in the image above

Share on