Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Tanning clinics warming to rule changes

Auckland Council introduced new regulations for commercial sunbed operators on Tuesday. Photo / Thinkstock
Auckland Council introduced new regulations for commercial sunbed operators on Tuesday. Photo / Thinkstock

Some operators in Auckland's sunbed industry need to get up to speed with strict new R18 rules before they get burned, an informal Herald survey shows.

Auckland Council introduced new regulations for commercial sunbed operators on Tuesday that include banning under-18s and unlicensed operators, mandatory staff supervision and new hygiene benchmarks.

Of five operators visited by 15-year-old Albany student Paris Little on behalf of the Herald, one did not check her age and two advised her she could use their services if she returned with an older relative or a note from her doctor.

Sunworld Professional Tanning in Takapuna asked Paris to fill out a consent form and skin-type assessment form, on which she wrote her correct year of birth, 1998.

The staff member clearly explained all the risks and rules around sunbeds, but did not check Paris' age before running her through a tanning schedule and prices.

Paris, who was accompanied by a Herald reporter at the salon, did not proceed with the sunbed.

A copy of the council's fact sheet it issued to inform businesses of the changes was visible on a desk.

Owner Heike Hofer said it was out of character for her staff and that the business had been strict on the rule before it was introduced.

At Mega Sun in Ponsonby, Paris entered the salon alone and was questioned on her age straight away by a staff member who told her she could receive the service if she had a note from her doctor.

"She said the only way I could tan there is if I had something signed off by my doctor ... and that just a note would be fine."

At Eurotan in Royal Oak, Paris was again questioned on her age immediately. However, the staff member told her she could return with a guardian.

"She said, 'If you come with a parent or someone you're related to and then you could get consent'."

A council spokesman said there were no exceptions to the new bylaw, and would be looking into the Herald's findings.

"The bylaw is quite explicit on age restriction.

"It says all operators must ensure no person under the age of 18 years is permitted to use a sunbed."

Staff at Solaris in Botany Downs were quick to question Paris' age, and recommended a range of self-tanning cosmetics products as an alternative.

There was also signage about the risk of using beds.

At Body Bronze in Newmarket Paris was turned away almost immediately, and warned not to return until she turned 18.

The Health and Hygiene Bylaw and Code of Practice 2013 also has new rules for tattoo parlours, nail salons, hair removal and body piercing.

- NZ Herald

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