What Should I Know About Sunbeds?
All sunbed users risk damaging their health but some people are at greater risk.
This includes people who:
- have naturally fair skin (many NI people have skin that freckles and burns easily when exposed to the sun)
- are under 35 years of age
- have a large number of moles
- have ever had an abnormal reaction or allergy to light
- are taking certain medications eg some anti-depressants
- have had sun or sunbed exposure within the past 48 hours
- have a history of frequent childhood sunburn
- have been treated for skin cancer or pre-malignant skin lesions
- have sun damaged skin
- are pregnant
- are wearing cosmetics
Busting the myths:
‘A tan is healthy and attractive’
A tan is a sign that your skin is damaged by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or sunbeds – it is not healthy. UV rays cause skin cancer and early skin ageing with wrinkling, sagging and yellowish or brown discolouring.
‘Using a sunbed will make me look my best for a special event’
Short periods of intense UV exposure on sunbeds can speed up skin damage and skin ageing. Sunbeds can also irritate your skin causing redness, itchiness and dryness and can damage your eyes. Fake tan is an alternative, or go with your natural glow.
‘I don’t want to get sunburned on holiday’
Sunbeds offer very little protection against further skin damage when in the sun. People who burn and don’t usually tan in the sun will also burn on a sunbed.
‘Sunbed tanning is safer than sun tanning’
Sunbeds do not offer ‘safe tanning’. Some sunbeds can give out UV rays many times stronger than the midday summer sun.
‘My gym wouldn’t have a sunbed if it wasn’t safe’
Because your gym or health club has a sunbed doesn’t mean it is safe.
CARE IN THE SUN
Anyone can develop skin cancer, whatever their skin colour. However, certain skin types are more at risk from the effects of UV radiation than others.
Too much ultraviolet (UV) light, either from natural sunlight or from artificial sources such as sunbeds, is the main cause of 80% of skin cancers.
Sunbeds, tanning booths and sun lamps give out ultraviolet (UV) rays that can damage your skin and can make it look wrinkled, older or leathery.