Salons defend the use of sunbeds

PUBLISHED: 13:21 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:26 31 May 2010

OWNERS of tanning salons in the area have defended the use of sunbeds, as a national charity launched a campaign to promote awareness of the risks of using them. Cancer Research UK s SunSmart campaign aims to highlight the risk posed by sunbeds and their

OWNERS of tanning salons in the area have defended the use of sunbeds, as a national charity launched a campaign to promote awareness of the risks of using them.

Cancer Research UK's SunSmart campaign aims to highlight the risk posed by sunbeds and their connection to skin cancer.

The charity is particularly concerned about sunbeds' use by the young - the International Agency for Research into Cancer has established that people who first use a sunbed before they are 35 are 75 per cent more likely to develop a malignant melanoma.

Lynn Daly, the charity's spokesman for the South East said: "You can't always see the damage that UV does straight away. It builds up over time. But every time you use a sunbed you are harming your skin and increasing your risk of skin cancer."

Wilbur's Gym on Saffron Walden High Street offers a sunbed facility to its customers, but manager James Goddard is well aware of the risks and has systems in place to make sure they are not misused.

"You have to be 16 or over to use our sunbeds," he said, "and people can only use them for up to six minutes at a time, much to their disdain. We used to go up to 12 minutes, but with the stronger, more powerful 200w tubes we think it's a better idea to restrict their use.

"Used responsibly I think they're okay - as long as people use them to get a base colour and not to get a proper tan."

And Stuart Carmichael, manager of Flitch Fitness Centre in Dunmow, restricts his sunbeds' use to over-18s and employs measures to ensure they are not overused.

"We monitor how often people use them," he said, "and make sure they fill in a questionnaire to provide us with relevant information before they can begin.

"But getting your UV light from sunbeds does have its benefits: you can control your tanning, unlike out in the sun when you can't control the intensity of rays.

"There are some other advantages too: people with skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis report improvements, as do some of those with acne. And people suffering from SAD syndrome find it helps them as well."

To counter the danger posed by sunbeds, Cancer Research UK launched on Tuesday a campaign entitled SunSmart, aiming to educate people about the dangers of exposure to ultraviolet rays.

The charity is calling for legislation to prevent under-18s accessing sunbeds, particularly unmanned and coin-operated models.

And the Government is taking notice: its national cancer director, Professor Mike Richards, has acknowledged the alarming prevalence of skin cancer.

"The Cancer Reform Strategy explained that the number of people getting skin cancer is rising rapidly," he said.

"It is a matter of particular concern that even children may be getting access to sunbeds and it is also important that they should have information about the dangers of excessive exposure to UV."

Visit www.sunsmart.org.uk to find out more.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Saffron Walden Reporter