Medhealth Review

Dermatologist Urgently Warns Against Sunbeds Due to Cancer Risk

A dermatologist has issued an urgent warning about the use of sunbeds, highlighting their dangerous impact on skin health. Dr. Emma Wedgeworth warns that these tanning devices significantly increase the risk of cancer and cause premature aging.

Both the British Association of Dermatologists and the NHS strongly advise against using sunbeds or sunlamps. The NHS specifically notes that sunbeds are potentially more harmful than natural sunlight due to their concentrated UV radiation, which can elevate the risk of skin cancer.

Despite these warnings, new data from the charity Melanoma Focus reveals that over a quarter of adults in the UK use sunbeds, with this figure rising to 43% among 18 to 25-year-olds. Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, claims 2,300 lives annually in the UK. Over the past decade, the incidence rates of melanoma skin cancer in the UK have surged by approximately a third.

Dr. Wedgeworth emphasizes that sunbeds are extremely harmful to the skin. Regular use of sunbeds can increase the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers while accelerating skin aging. The intense UVB and UVA rays emitted by sunbeds are much more potent than those from the sun, posing a higher risk of skin damage.

Though UV light can suppress the immune system and offer temporary relief for conditions like psoriasis and eczema, Dr. Wedgeworth advises against using sunbeds for this purpose. There are safer and more effective treatments available for these skin conditions. She acknowledges the challenge of accessing dermatological care but urges individuals to avoid sunbeds due to their severe risks.

Sunbeds expose the skin to more intense UVA rays compared to natural sunlight, making even a short session equivalent to spending several hours in the Mediterranean sun. This intensity significantly heightens the danger to skin health.

Countries such as Australia and Brazil have already implemented bans on sunbeds. In contrast, the Sunbed Association maintains that professional sunbeds are well-regulated in the UK, with children prohibited from use and guidelines provided on the number of sessions allowed.

In conclusion, while sunbeds may offer a quick tanning solution or temporary relief for skin conditions, their use carries substantial risks. The dangers of increased cancer risk and accelerated skin aging far outweigh any perceived benefits. It is crucial to seek safer alternatives and heed the advice of medical professionals to protect long-term skin health.

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