Ultraviolet radiation and the INTERSUN Programme

Sunbeds


What are the risks from sunbed use?

Few studies have been undertaken to systematically assess the dangers of sunbed use, and the picture remains equivocal. Sunbeds for self-tanning purposes have been available for the last two decades and due to the long latency period for skin cancer and eye damage it has been difficult so far to demonstrate any long-term health effects.

The majority of tanning parlours provide inadequate advice to their customers. The use of eye protection such as goggles or sunglasses should be mandatory. However, as sunbed users aim to have an even tan, they often decide against protecting any part of their body.

Users have reported a range of short-term symptoms including itching, dryness and redness of skin, freckling and photosensitivity. Common outcomes in the longer term, especially in fair-skinned people, may involve blistering of the skin. Sagging and wrinkling of the skin are an almost certain price to be paid by frequent sunbed users.

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