Ultraviolet radiation and the INTERSUN Programme


Surely, sunbed use offers protection against sunburn?

A recent survey suggests that 40 per cent of sunbed users believe they can prevent sunburning on holiday by obtaining a tan beforehand. To put things into perspective: a dark tan on a white skin offers a sun protection factor of between 2 and 4. But more importantly, a tan is no defence against long-term UV damage such as skin cancer.

Sunbeds mainly emit UVA radiation, which produces a tanning effect by increasing the amount of melanin pigment in the upper skin layers. Even though this is designed as a defence against further UV damage, the darkening as such provides little extra protection. UVB, on the other hand, stimulates cells to produce a thicker epidermis, which offers slightly more protection against further exposure to UV radiation