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24th Jul 2014

7 Things You REALLY Need To Know About Sun Beds

The facts you need to know for skin protection.

With the mini-heatwave in full swing, it can be tempting to sit out in the sun and catch some extra freckles. Chances are with Irish skintones, us freckled ladies need a bit of extra help.

We’re all for being a bronzed beauty, but it’s important to know the risks to perfecting sun kissed skin.

While we’re fans of our distant friend sunshine, we know the importance of a strong SPF, but for days where we’re faking it? Nothing beats a bottle of fake tan, protecting your skin but still giving it a glow.

So what if you’re a regular sunbed user? It’s the beauty treatment that could be really damaging your health.

We have some facts you REALLY need to know before you get on a sunbed this summer:

  • A sunbed is any tanning unit used to tan the skin with UV radiation, but did you know that a sunbed can expose your skin to nearly 15 times higher UV radiation than the midday Mediterranean sun? There’s a reason our European neighbours take a siesta during the day, and one of them is skin protection.
  • Sunbeds expose your skin to UVA and UVB rays that can damage your skin cells and can lead to skin cancer. Another side effect of UVA rays is premature skin ageing.
  • UV radiation can also harm the eyes. In the short term, it can cause a kind of “eye sunburn”, a temporary but painful inflammation of the outermost layer of the eye. In the long-term, it can increase the risk of developing several eye diseases, including cataracts and eye cancer.
  • Sunbeds are so dangerous that there is now an imposed ban on teenagers being offered the treatment. From this week, operators will face a fine of up to €4,000 or six months in prison for allowing patrons under 18 years of age to hire or buy a sunbed.
  • The link between sunbeds and skin cancer is so strong that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has placed sunbeds in the highest cancer risk category. This means that sunbed use is now recognised as being as carcinogenic as tobacco or plutonium.
  • People who have used a sunbed, even just once, have a 15% increased risk of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. Skin cancer is now the fastest growing cancer in Ireland and melanoma claims 150 lives annually, with 850 new cases discovered each year.
  • If you first use a sunbed before you were 30 years of age, your risk of getting melanoma is increased by 75%

For more information go to the Department of Health’s sunbed information page  or visit the Irish Cancer Society for more information here.