There’s a lot of hearsay surrounding sunbeds. Everyone seems to think they know best and they’re happy to dish out advice, but you can’t believe everything you hear…
“Using a sunbed gives me a base tan to protect me from burning on holiday.”
Sunbed tans offer very little protection against sunburn.
(Equal to SPF 2-4, which won’t keep you safe in the sun)
“You never get a good tan unless you burn first”
Redness or burnt skin is a sign of DNA damage. This damage increases the risk of skin cancer
“My friend said sunbeds are great for clearing acne.”
See your GP for advice or treatment if you have concerns about any skin conditions. A GP wouldn’t suggest sunbeds to cure acne.
“You don’t need to worry about sunbeds until you’re older”
You may not be able to see the damage that UV does to your skin straight away, as it builds up gradually. But every time you use a sunbed you’re damaging your skin, which can lead to premature aging and cancer. (Surgical treatment for skin cancer can result in serious scarring.) Young people are particularly vulnerable to UV damage and using a sunbed for the first time before the age of 35 can increase your risk of developing skin cancer by 59%.
“I like to use the sunbed as it gives my body vitamin D”
Our bodies produce vitamin D when our skin is exposed to UV rays, but you only need to be exposed to the sun for a brief period to produce all the vitamin D you need. So you don’t need a sunbed to get your vitamins.
“I build my sunbed tan gradually, it’s safer that way”
Limiting your time on a sunbed is not enough to completely protect you. Short periods of irregular UV exposure, like you get on a sunbed, are the fastest way to damage your skin.
“Using a sunbed is safer than tanning in the sun.”
Wrong! Skin cancer is mainly caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Just like the sun, sunbeds give off UVA and UVB rays, which can cause DNA damage that can lead to skin cancer.