There is no such thing as a safe tan and sunbeds or sunlamps are not a safe alternative to sunbathing.
A suntan is not a sign of good health. In fact quite the reverse is true as a suntan is a sign of skin damage. The more exposure, the greater the risk of skin cancer, even if you do not burn.
By using sunbeds people are increasing the risk of contracting skin cancer, damaging their immune system and causing premature ageing.
If you are going on holiday and are planning to use a sunbed before you go, remember that a tan gained by using a sunbed will not offer you any extra protection whilst sunbathing. The idea that it will 'prepare' your skin is a common myth which is completely untrue.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health (DoH) have produced guidance for salons, enforcement officers and information for the public on the health risks of using UV tanning equipment, including circumstances when you should never use sunbeds.
The British Medical Association (BMA) advise you not to use sunbeds at all, or if you do use them, to limit their use to no more than two courses - or ten sessions - a year.
Children under 18 should never use sunbeds due to the high risk of skin cancer in later years. The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 prevents persons aged under 18 from using sunbeds. Businesses that offer sunbeds for use on their premises are banned from allowing persons aged under 18 to use, or have access to, their sunbeds, and from offering their sunbeds for use by persons aged under 18. Cancer Research recommend that people do not use unstaffed coin-operated sunbed premises, which they believe should be closed down.
If you want a tan, opt for the wide range of fake self-tanning products now available on the market. Orange and streaky is a thing of the past. Many self tan creams or sprays now offer a natural flawless tan, without the damage a real tan causes. Many salons now also offer spray tanning sessions for a safe, natural looking UV free tan.
While fake tans are safer than sunbathing or sunbeds, it is important to be aware that self-tanning lotions offer little protection from UV radiation. So if you are going outside in the sunshine to show off your new fake tan, you will still need to use a sunscreen.
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