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JCTA Launches Canadian ‘Skin Type’ Awareness Program

Friday, January 25, 2013
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Free online tool to help Canadians learn effective sunburn prevention

KELOWNA, B.C. (June 9) – Canadians have a free new on-line tool to help everyone better understand effective outdoor sunburn prevention. The Joint Canadian Tanning Association this week launched as a public service to teach everyone what professional indoor tanning facilities already teach their clients: How to avoid sunburn by understanding your genetic skin type.Canadians will be able to learn and understand their own genetic skin sensitivity – commonly referred to as a numeric “Skin Type” — with the interactive web site. Teaching skin type awareness is one reason professional indoor tanning enthusiasts have always been less likely to sunburn outdoors.

“The professional tanning community in Canada has always taken the lead in teaching effective sunburn prevention,” JCTA Executive Director Steve Gilroy said. “Teaching people to understand their skin type and what that means for their sun-sensitivity both in a tanning facility and outdoors under the sun is the most effective way to teach sun awareness in a constructive fashion.”

Using, Canadians can take a simple quiz to learn their skin type in what is known as the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale — a numeric scale from 1 to 6 with one being the fairest-skinned most sensitive skin type and 6 being the darkest skinned, least-sensitive skin. The scale was developed especially for therapeutic sunlamp usage by Harvard University dermatologist/photo-biologist Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick.

Most indoor tanning clients are Skin Type III, which means skin tans easily but can still sunburn if overexposed. The Skin Type System helps identify fairer skin types who need to be especially careful to avoid intermittent sunburns outdoors in the summer and the fairest skin types who are not able to tan at all.

Skin Type I, the fairest, sunburns easily and is unable to develop a tan. Professional tanning facilities have used skin typing for years to identify those with Skin Type I so they can be counseled on how to avoid sunburn. Those with Skin Type I who wish to tan should only use non-UV spray tanning services.

European studies on indoor tanning and potential skin damage have included subjects with skin type I — people who attempted to tan in years past in Europe, where the therapeutic aspects of UV exposure were more of a concern than the cosmetic tan. The association between UV and skin damage in those studies was in those with Skin Type I — the reason it is critical to identify those with the fairest skin type and properly counsel them.

“Our goal is to teach everyone sunburn prevention, including the correct usage of chemical sunscreen products when sunburn is a possibility,” Gilroy said.

With more and more Canadians looking for ways to make natural vitamin D  including sunbathing this summer, JCTA developed to help non-tanners understand their skin sensitivity based on their skin type. “People now understand there needs to be a balanced approach to sun care. Many in dermatology lobbying groups and lobbying interests tied to the sunscreen industry are still teaching sun avoidance instead of proper sun management. So this web site is important for those who believe in a balanced message.”

The six skin types include:

Skin Type I – Does not tan. Should avoid intentional sun exposure.
Skin Type II – Fair skinned. Can tan, but burns easily.
Skin Type III – Tans easily but can still sunburn.
Skin Type IV – Tans easily but burns minimally.
Skin Type V — Tans substantially and rarely burns.
Skin Type VI — Tans profusely and rarely burns.

About JCTA

The JCTA is a national non-profit organization representing Canada’s professional indoor tanning industry. Representing over 1,600 salons, the JCTA is the single voice for Canada’s professional certified salons.

For further information: Interview Opportunities: JCTA Executive Director, Steven Gilroy and President Doug McNabb are available for media interviews by contacting Tracey Warren at (403) 259-0487 or; For French interviews Loraine Cordeau can be reached at the Quebec Provincial Association, ASBQ, 1-866-645-7070 or (450) 654-7797