How Do Sunbeds Cause Cancer?

Over the winter months, with frosty days and eternal nights, it can be tempting to capture that feeling of the summer sun, which to some means using a sunbed to give themselves an all-over tan.

There will be no private oncologist that would recommend this, however, and the fact that sunbeds contribute so significantly to the risk of skin cancer that it becomes less a question of if but instead how sunbeds can cause cancer to develop, particularly for young people.

Such is the concern for young people that in 2010 legislation was brought in to stop people under the age of 18 from using them at all.

There are various different ways sunbeds can cause cancer. Some of these are consequences of exposure to the sun, such as exposure to UVA and UVB rays that cause damage to the DNA in skin cells.

This can, over time, accumulate, leading to several signs of ageing, the most dangerous of which is melanoma, a form of cancer noticeable due to a mole or other spot.

Skin damage accumulates over the course of many years, so the effect is often not noticed until after cancer could potentially be diagnosed.

This is true for all sunbathing using UV light, but sunbeds are potentially even more dangerous than this, providing twice the level of UVA radiation as the midday Mediterranean sun depending on the type of subbed used.

Artificial tans such as these do not provide any further protection from burning in the sun either, so they cannot be used as a preventative measure. They also do not provide enough vitamin D to make them worth the risk

Ultimately, the only truly safe way to get a tanned look is to use a fake tan product, ideally in conjunction with an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen.