Sunbeds not a safe alternative

Entrants wearing the biggest and brightest green outfits were given prizes at the Irish Festival held at Emperors Palace.
Entrants wearing the biggest and brightest green outfits were given prizes at the Irish Festival held at Emperors Palace.

Sunbeds give out harmful UV rays which damage your skin and can make it look wrinkled, older or leathery.

The UV rays from sunbeds can also damage the DNA in your skin cells, and over time this damage can build up to cause skin cancer.

Sunbeds can sometimes be marketed as a “controlled way” of getting a safer tan. But actually, sunbeds are no safer than exposure to the sun itself, and the amount of UV people receive varies enormously too.

You can’t always see the damage that UV does straight away as it builds up gradually. But every time you use a sunbed you are damaging your skin, making it look worse in the long run.

Using sunbeds for the first time before the age of 35 increases the risk of developing melanoma skin cancer by nearly 60 per cent. Surgical treatment for skin cancer can result in serious scarring, and melanoma can be fatal.

No matter how much UV you receive, there comes a point when your skin won’t get any darker. Using sunbeds can make your skin coarse, leathery and wrinkled. Trying to increase a tan by having more sunbed sessions or using a sunbed after sunbathing is harmful.

The main cause of skin cancer is overexposure to UV radiation. Like the sun, sunbeds give off UVA and UVB rays. While sunburn is mostly caused by UVB, both types of UV can cause DNA damage and lead to skin cancer.

Modern sunbeds emit mostly UVA rays, but UVB rays can make up anywhere from 0.5 to four per cent of their total output.

These emissions can be comparable to the midday sun. And the amount of UVA given off can be 10 to 15 times higher than the midday sun.

Burning or going red under a sunbed is a sign that you have seriously harmed your skin. UV can penetrate deep into the skin’s layers and damage the DNA in our skin cells.

Some of the damage may happen before you get burnt or your skin goes red.

Cells damaged by UV are at greater risk of mutating and then dividing uncontrollably, which is what happens in cancer.

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