Posted by: Sara Valente1 MAR 2010
As you know skin cancer is mostly caused by the long-term exposure of UVA and UVB rays from the sun. It seems irrelevant to be discussing this topic now whilst we are enjoying the cloudy and drizzly comforts of a long winter but there are other places that people are seeking this unhealthy dose of radiation. I’m talking about sunbeds – though they have an innocent, friendly name they are potentially very dangerous to our health. I personally did not realise that the long-term effects of sunbed use were so harmful to our skin. Initially, a sunbed will promise to give you a natural, healthy-looking tan when many of us are feeling pale. However, tans can quickly fade and here is where an addiction can develop and real damage is done. Exposure to UVA and UVB in the long run will increase a person’s chance of developing malignant skin cancer in later life and even damaged, wrinkly skin. These effects are irreversible and often go unnoticed for many years. Luckily, benign skin cancers have a good prognosis but malignant melanomas cause the most difficulty with treatment.
It concerns me that this issue is prevalent amongst young people who are constantly following the latest trends, one of which is to have an all-year round beach tan. You could argue that sunbeds are no better than lying in the sun all day and yet a sunbed produces considerably more UV rays than a Spanish sun. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a tan but what I would do is swap the sunbed for a cheap bottle of self-tan and fake it!