Why celebs are ditching deadly sunbeds to save their lives – and you should too

FROM the mahogany bodies on Love Island to golden limbs on red carpets and tangoed celebrities falling out of clubs, tans are everywhere.

But while many of us get ours from a bottle or a few days on the beach, one-in-ten young Brits – including children as young as EIGHT – are risking their lives to fry themselves on sunbeds.

Ferne McCann (seen here with Arg) used sunbeds from the age of 16, but stopped when she had to have ‘suspicious’ moles removed and now only uses fake tan

Using sunbeds before you’re 35 increases your chance of developing melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – by a horrific 87 per cent.

Over the coming week, Fabulous’ Dying for a Tan campaign will tell the stories of women who have lost an eye to cancer, had huge holes gauged out of their skin, and been left looking decades older than their age – all because of sunbeds.

Sunbeds pelt skin with ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are often stronger than the midday Mediterranean sun – 20 minutes on a sunbed is equivalent to four hours in the sun.  The UV radiation causes melanin to be released in the body, which gives skin a tan, but also causes skin cancer.

Anthea Smith

During our campaign, we will speak to women who have been faced with the horrifying effects of skin cancer[/caption]

Graphic pictures show wounds caused by sunbeds
PA Real Life

Tanning beds are particularly dangerous because they mainly produce UVA radiation which penetrates the skin on a deeper level than UVB (sunlight contains both).

They have been classified as dangerous for health as asbestos and smoking – yet one in ten Brits under 44 admit to using one in the past year.

It’s estimated there are 7,000 sunbed shops in the UK, but with tanning salons on almost every high street the true figure could be much more, and some cost just 50p a minute.

Skin cancer is now the fifth most common form of cancer in the UK, with over 100,000 people battling it – and six people dying from it every day.

Fabulous’ Dying For A Tan campaign comes as Cancer Research has revealed that rates of deadly melanoma have soared by 45 per cent in the past ten years.

Vicky Pattison is another former sunbed user who has embraced faking it

Dying For A Tan

There are an estimated 7,000 tanning salons in Britain, with some offering sessions from as little as 50p a minute.

Kids as young as EIGHT are using sunbeds, with seemingly little understanding they are playing Russian Roulette with their health.

According to Cancer Research UK, Melanoma skin cancer risk is 16-25 per cent higher in people who have used a sunbed (at any age), compared to people who have never used sunbeds. 

This is because sunbeds pelt the skin with such strong UV rays which increase the risk of developing malignant melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer. 

Just 20 minutes on one is comparable to four hours in the sun – with many stronger than Mediterranean rays at midday.

In many cases the damage is invisible until it’s too late, as it can take up to 20 years to become apparent.

Around 16,000 new melanoma skin cancer cases are diagnosed in the UK every year – that’s 44 every day.

There are around 2,300 melanoma skin cancer deaths annually – that’s more than six every day.

It’s part of the reason the World Health Organisation has deemed sunbeds are as dangerous as smoking.

This is why Fabulous says it is time to stop Dying For A Tan.

In an exclusive survey of sunbed users, The Sun found 77 per cent believe a tan makes them more attractive – and a shocking 50 per cent follow a ‘the darker the better’ approach.

But while they think they’re making themselves look sexier, in the long run the opposite is true.

Celebs who admit having used sunbeds in the past, including Ferne McCann, Vicky Pattison and Georgia Kousoulou, are all supporting our campaign.

Geordie Shore star Vicky Pattison said: “I am supporting this campaign because growing up the knowledge wasn’t there when it came to sun bedding and now we all are more aware of the damaging effects. I LOVE feeling tanned and getting a spray tan once a week is the perfect alternative!’

TOWIE’s Georgia agrees, telling us: “I used to use sunbeds before I knew about the damaging effects for your skin.

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Bottoms up 😝

A post shared by Georgia Kousoulou 💋 (@georgiakousoulou) on May 31, 2019 at 1:18pm PDT

“I think this campaign is really important as its educating people to the side effects of using sunbeds. Everyone wants to be tanned, especially in Essex! Fake tan for the win!”

Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts added: “I’d like to see sunbeds banned for everybody. I don’t see any reason why sunbeds should still exist, there are plenty of alternatives. They can kill you.”

Over the coming weeks we will highlight:

  • How sunbeds raise users’ risk of developing skin cancer
  • The terrifying physical consequences of using the beds
  • How easy it is to fake a bronzed look in a healthy way
  • That celebs like Nicola Roberts, Vicky Pattison and Georgia Kousoulou are turning their backs on beds as they realise the dangers
  • The terrifying number of tanning obsessives who even have their own beds at home
Nicola Roberts spent years using sunbeds and fake tan as she was so embarrassed of her pale skin. She not bitterly regrets not rocking her natural look for so long

With over a fifth of users we surveyed admitting they never use sun cream while on a bed, it seems there is a misplaced believe that sunbeds are safer than tanning naturally.

This is untrue, as they pelt the skin with harmful UV rays – in our survey, four out of ten people admitted getting burnt while on a sunbed.

And yet still people keep using them.

Symptoms of melanoma

The most common sign of melanoma is a new mole or a change in an existing mole.

In most cases, melanomas have an irregular shape and are more than one colour. The mole may also be larger than normal and can sometimes be itchy or bleed. Look out for a mole which changes progressively in shape, size and/or colour.

The ABCDE checklist should help you tell the difference between a normal mole and a melanoma:

  • Asymmetrical – melanomas have 2 very different halves and are an irregular shape
  • Border – melanomas have a notched or ragged border
  • Colours – melanomas will be a mix of 2 or more colours
  • Diameter – most melanomas are larger than 6mm (1/4 inch) in diameter
  • Enlargement or elevation – a mole that changes size over time is more likely to be a melanoma

Source: NHS

Research by The World Health Organisation revealed your chance of developing melanoma rises each and every time you lie on a sunbed.

The findings are part of the reason it became illegal for anyone under 18 to use them in the UK in 2010.

Despite this, enforcement seems to be lax – we have heard repeated stories of girls as young as 13 regularly using tanning beds now.

This is why two-thirds of British dermatologists want sunbeds banned in the UK, with over nine out of 10 insisting the age people can use them should be raised from 18 to 21.

At the very least people must be aware of the health implications of sunbed use, which is why The Sun is warning readers to stop Dying For A Tan.

Symptoms of non-melanoma cancers

The first sign of non-melanoma skin cancer is usually the appearance of a lump or discoloured patch on the skin that continues to persist after a few weeks, and slowly progresses over months or sometimes years.

There are two common types of non-melanoma:

Basal cell carcinoma (accounts for 75 per cent of skin cancers):

  • usually appears as a small, shiny pink or pearly-white lump with a waxy appearance
  • can also look like a red, scaly patch
  • there’s sometimes some brown or black pigment within the patch
  • the lump slowly gets bigger and may become crusty, bleed or develop into a painless ulcer

Squamous cell carcinoma (accounts for the other 20 per cent):

  • appears as a firm pink lump with a rough or crusted surface
  • can be a lot of surface scale and sometimes even a spiky horn sticking up from the surface
  • lump is often tender to touch, bleeds easily and may develop into an ulcer


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