Sunday, 18 July 2010

Sun beds

I like being tanned; it gives my skin a healthy glow and reduces the appearance of imperfections creating a more flawless look.

The benefits of sun bed's are however widely disputed. Many tests have been carried out on health risks and benefits alike by scientists, finding shocking results for and against the use of sun beds.

The issues over sun beds have arisen increasingly in the news over the last decade; it has become such a popular subject that the name 'tanorexic' has been given to those sun tan worshippers who are seemingly 'addicted' to using sun beds.

Below is an article taken from the Independent newspaper:

'Tanorexic' teenagers face sun bed ban

Teenagers who want the golden glow of a year-round tan face being banned from using tanning salons because of increasing evidence that sunbeds cause cancer.

The European Commission is planning new controls following a ruling by an EU panel of experts that anyone under 18, as well as people with a greater risk of getting skin cancer, should not be allowed to use sunbeds on health grounds.

The crackdown was welcomed by the Department of Health and medical charities, which said that introducing proper controls on the currently unregulated industry was long overdue.

Sara Hiams, of Cancer Research UK, said: "We would urge the European Commission to act as quickly as possible on this. We're particularly concerned about the risks from increased use of sunbeds by young people."

Cancer experts are alarmed by the number of "tanorexic" teenagers in Britain who use sunbeds to create permanent tans.The worst form of skin cancer, a malignant melanoma, is the fastest growing type of cancer in Britain, rising by 24 per cent in the late 1990s, and the third most common type among 15- to 24-year-olds. More than 70,000 new skin cancer cases are reported each year in Britain, and 2,000 deaths.

But other problems include premature ageing of the skin, making it look leathery and wrinkled, and an increased threat of eye diseases such as cataracts if goggles are not used. The risks affect large numbers of people, including those with fair skin, red hair, numerous moles and freckles, and people with a family history of skin cancer.

Kathy Banks, the secretary of the Sunbed Association, which represents about 20 per cent of Britain's 7,500 tanning salons, said her members would welcome a ban on under-18s and stricter health controls. "There are risks associated with tanning but it's not actually the use of our products but the abuse of our products that causes problems," she said.

Ms Banks said her members were required by their insurance policies and her association's code of conduct not to allow under-16s to use their sunbeds or adults with vulnerable skin types, in line with Health and Safety Executive recommendations.

However, investigations by the consumers' group Which? found very lax controls by the association's members, which failed to stop people with vulnerable skin types. Checks in Newcastle found that many salons regularly failed to stop teenagers from using their machines.


Sunbeds have made her 23-year-old sister look like a wrinkled 30-year-old, but Zara Murphy cannot stop using them.

Zara, 17, an aspiring dancer from the Wirral, started going to tanning salons twice a week with her mum when she was 15 because she felt that it made her more attractive.

"I look healthier and more attractive when I've got a tan, but it depends on whether I'm going out or not," she said. "But I use it less now after seeing what it's doing to my sister. She's been using it for about eight years. She looks awful."

Even the news that a school friend had been diagnosed with skin cancer after using sunbeds failed to put her off. "When you're on stage you look really pale. Speak to anyone who goes on stage and they'll tell you that you have to cake yourself in make-up."

She has had a few problems but it has not put her off using them. "I've burned myself a couple of times, and it doesn't look great when you look like a tomato."


* Sunshine is a natural source of vitamin D, essential for healthy teeth and bones

* It is easy to protect yourself against sunburn and strong sun

* Some scientists believe that moderate sunbathing increases feelings of wellbeing by raising serotonin levels in the brain.

This article starts off being completely against sun beds, using quotes from Cancer Research and the government to highlight and emphasis the seriousness of the article. It then however finishes off highlighting the health benefits, totally contradicting itself and totally confusing the audience as of what advice to take!!

Here are some more articles and advertisements against sun beds:

CANCER RESEARCH UK - The naked facts

  • Sunbeds are not a safe alternative to tanning outdoors.
  • Sunbeds give out UV rays which damage the DNA in your skin cells. Over time, this damage can build up and may eventually lead to skin cancer.
  • Experts recently moved sunbeds from the ‘probably carcinogenic’ category to ‘carcinogenic’. This puts sunbeds in the same category as tobacco, alcohol and asbestos.
  • Young people are particularly at risk – people who first use a sunbed before the age of 35 have a 75% increased risk of developing melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
  • It’s not only so called ‘binge tanners’ who are putting themselves in danger. Using a sunbed justonce a month or more can increase the risk of melanoma by more than half.

Every time you use a sunbed you are harming your skin – as well as increasing the risk of skin cancer, sunbeds cause premature ageing and make skin look wrinkly and leathery before its time.

Gemma Merner, who plays Carmel Valentine in Channel 4's Hollyoaks, started using sunbeds when she was 15. The below image reveals the hidden damage to her skin.

"Looking at these photos, I can see there are already signs of sun damage and I’m only 25! It's quite shocking. You only get one skin so you really need to look after it. These pictures have convinced me for sure that I’ll never use a sunbed again."

Below are some before and after shots of people people who use sun bed's showing the affects on the skin.

It is widely known that over exposure to UV rays ( from sun beds and the Sun) are bad for the skin and is becoming the more and more common problem of skin cancer.

Below is an article highlighting skin cancer which was printed in The Sun newspaper :

AT LEAST 100 people are killed by sunbeds each year in the UK, a hard-hitting report said yesterday.

It demanded all operators be licensed, under-18s be barred and a ban on unsupervised or coin-operated sunbeds. Experts on the Government-appointed Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment said sunbeds were a serious and growing problem. One reason was that modern sunbeds were more powerful and gave far more radiation exposure per minute than sunbathing. Some were now up to 15 times more intense than the midday sunshine on a Mediterranean beach. Unveiling the report in London Prof Alex Elliott said: "We believe sunbeds are causing upwards of 100 deaths per year in the UK. "Plus you have the other types of non-malignant cancer which, though they don't kill you, can cause moles and disfigurement that need plastic surgery. "The cost to the NHS is upwards of £200million a year." Jill McRae - whose 14-year-old daughter Kirsty suffered 70 per cent burns after paying £4 for 19 minutes at a coin-operated centre in Barry Island, Glamorgan, said unstaffed sunbed salons posed "an enormous risk". Public Health Minister Gillian Merron vowed: "If necessary we will look at new laws."

This message can only be read through the banner when the sun casts a shadow. A completely confusing banner on a cloudy day, but one that is always there when it is needed the most.

These are just some plain embarrassing images of sun tans gone wrong.

Having found all of this information against the use of sun bed's I still feel that they are good to use in moderation.

Below is some information on ways they can save lives...

BETTERHUMANS.COM - According to John Jacob Cannell, MD, founder of the non-profit Vitamin D Counsel: “Current research indicates vitamin D deficiency plays a role in causing seventeen varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, and periodontal disease.

This does not mean that vitamin D deficiency is the only cause of these diseases, or that you will not get them if you take vitamin D. What it does mean is that vitamin D, and the many ways in which it affects a person’s health, can no longer be overlooked by the health care industry nor by individuals striving to achieve and maintain a greater state of health.” Vitamin D seems to reduce the risk of almost every killer disease of aging. In fact, a recent study shows that humans with low vitamin D status are twice as likely to die over a seven-year time period!


The annual cost of disease of vitamin D deficiency to the UK has been put at more than £27bn.¹ UV exposure or sunlight is accepted as the most effective method of manufacturing vitamin D but as the UK’s sunlight isn’t strong enough to enable us to manufacture vitamin D for seven months of the year, responsible sunbed use could provide the answer.

Gary Lipman, Chairman of The Sunbed Association, said “A few minutes 2-3 times a week on a sunbed has long been known and recommended by international experts as a viable way of securing and maintaining adequate vitamin D levels.

“Unfortunately, in recent years sunbeds have been an undeserved victim of negative and persistent anti-tanning campaigns. Modern sunbeds can offer sensors to measure UV output according to an individual’s skin type, creating the right balance and session length, to avoid any chance of burning. And, of course, it’s burning whether on a sunbed or in the sun that should be avoided. Moderate UV exposure is essential to good health.”

Cancer Research UK and other health organisations are preparing to amend their advice on responsible UV exposure, such is the weight of evidence confirming the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and chronic disease. It is estimated that six out of ten adults of working age in the UK are vitamin D deficient.

“The public is completely confused with the conflicting advice given on UV exposure and it is time that perspective and common sense were factored into the message.” added Lipman. “Much of what has been said about sunbeds is pure spin to create sensationalist headlines and reach targets. Changing the perception about sunbed use will be difficult and a hard pill for many to swallow but the overwhelming evidence suggests that used responsibly with resultant vitamin D benefits, sunbeds could have a significant role to play in saving thousands of lives as well as billions of pounds annually.”

It is a hard conclusion to make if something can harm you and also benefit. Overall taking all the information into consideration I would still use a sun bed. It could be likened to a game of russian roulette and a decision to take part can only really rely on the individual.

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