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The Dangers of Sunbeds for Teens

The Dangers of Sunbeds for Teens

Sophie Coffey

When it comes to taking care of our skin most of us are familiar with the importance of using SPF. However, it is not the only thing we need to remember when it comes to protecting our skin from the sun’s harmful rays. We must also be aware of the dangers of sunbeds for teens.

Choose the bottle over the bed

With another summer of staycations on the horizon, more and more of us are searching for alternative ways of tanning. After all, ‘just-swam-through-a-puddle-in-Kerry’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as ‘just-stepped-off-a-plane-from-Portugal’. For most of us this means picking up a bottle of our favourite tanning product. However, some people prefer the use of sunbeds to help them achieve that natural glow. Sunbeds might be helping your tan, but they are doing the opposite when it comes to helping your skin. This is not something we can afford when it comes to protecting our body and health.

A healthy glow is not always healthy

We tend to associate sun beds and tanning with aesthetic effects the ultimate impact is far less superficial. Sunbeds tan the skin through emitting ultraviolet rays – more commonly referred to as UV rays. The radiation from UV is what causes damage to the skin. In fact the radiation from the direct UV rays of sunbeds is more damaging than exposure from the sun itself. This harm may be in the form of damage to the eyes or signs of premature aging such as wrinkles. The most serious harm incurred is through an increased risk of skin cancer.

While not every person who ever uses a tanning bed will develop skin cancer there is a significantly increased risk to those who regularly do. This is particularly true of teens and young adults whose skin suffers greater damage from the exposure to sunbeds. The International Agency for Research on Cancer reported that those who use tanning beds before the age of 30 increased their risk by 75%. While these percentages are stark, preventative measures can be as uncomplicated as selecting a bottle of fake tan over an appointment with a sunbed.

In an attempt to combat the dangers of sunbeds to teens and young people the Irish government signed the Public Health (Sunbeds) Act into law in 2014. Among other provisions this act makes it illegal for anyone under 18 to purchase, hire or use a sunbed.

So if you are considering booking in for a sunbed, reach for a bottle of fake tan instead. We have even rounded up some of our favourites for you. Your skin will thank you for it.

See Also

For more information see the HSE website.

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