The dangers of sunbathing, sunbeds and how to get a safe, natural looking tan.
Statistics shows that people who are frequently exposed to UV rays before the age of 25, and people who get sun burnt as a child or teenager, are at a much greater risk of developing skin cancer in later life… in fact, their risk is almost doubled!
TanOrganic have launched a special campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of exposure to UV rays, whether from sunbathing or sunbeds, with advice for teenagers on how to have a great looking tan without putting your health at risk.
The campaign also aims to raise awareness of the extent to which sun exposure can age the skin, making us look far older than our years.
This handy guide for teenagers and their parents from TanOrganic lists the dangers of sunbathing and sunbeds and gives some helpful advice on how to look tanned, safely, so you can tan today and see tomorrow.
The sun can be very damaging to the skin and regular, unprotected exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays is the leading cause of both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers. Melanoma skin cancer (the most aggressive form) has been linked to overexposure of Caucasian skin to the sun over relatively short periods of time, such as during a holiday in a hot country or during abnormally hot weather in Ireland. The sun’s ultraviolet rays are particularly dangerous to children and teenagers, and can lead to skin cancer later in life.
Just over 10,000 new cases were diagnosed in this country in 2011 and most cases are caused by UV rays from the sun. In a recent report by the Irish Independent it was noted that the number of Irish skin cancer cases almost doubled between 1994 and 2011 – but the biggest increases were among young people from 2002, when Irish consumer spending, and sun holiday bookings, reached record peaks. Most Irish skin types are Fitzpatrick scale I and II, which means they are at a higher risk of getting skin cancer. For more details on determining you skin type visit this link.
Dr Adam Friedmann, a dermatologist at prestigious The Harley Street Dermatology Clinic said: “Exposure to sunlight is often a major factor in the development of skin cancer, despite highly publicised warnings against excessive tanning. The incidence of malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, continues to rise in the UK. Melanoma is now FIVE times more prevalent in the UK than it was in the 1970s with around 1300 new cases per year. It is thought that package holidays, sunbeds and inadequate sunscreens might have contributed to this rise.”
Why sunbathing makes you look older?
Not only can sunbathing regularly (particularly without wearing an SPF sun protection lotion, spray or mousse) potentially cause skin cancer, but it also ages the skin, leading to wrinkles and unsightly blemishes. Dermatologist Dr Adam Friedmann said: “Excessive exposure to the sun’s UVA rays can also age your skin prematurely, so if the risk of skin cancer isn’t enough to deter you then maybe signs of premature aging will. So if it’s a great tan you’re looking for, using a fake tan is a great and safer alternative to sun exposure.”
These images are real examples of how the sun can age skin dramatically. The results may not be evident until you are in your 30’s or 40’s but by then, the damage has been done and is irreversible. A lot of young people believe in living for the now and don’t concern themselves with the future but unfortunately, if you have damaged your skin due to overexposure to the sun, you will look back and wish you had been careful.
The sun’s rays contain ultraviolet light, which damages the DNA in skin cells, particularly when the skin is exposed to the sun over long periods of time, for short periods of time in hot countries and when people get sunburnt. The damage often happens years before any cancer develops, or before wrinkles make an appearance, so you might think that sunbathing and using sunbeds now is safe because you can’t see the effects, but in reality you could be harming your skin.
The sun’s rays contain 3 types of ultraviolet light:
Sunbeds have been found to be even more damaging than sunbathing – sunbeds give out higher amounts of UV rays than the sun does at midday in hot countries!
There is a lot of evidence that shows that sunbeds are very dangerous, and they make us look older, quicker. TanOrganic advises against the use of sunbeds altogether. Read on to find out how you can get a safe and natural looking tan, without putting yourself at risk.
Case study: Gemma Hook, 29, West Sussex, United Kingdom.
Gemma used sunbeds once a week from the age of 14, but at the age of 17 developed several moles on her skin, including a bright blue coloured mole on her buttock. Her doctor told her that if she didn’t stop using sunbeds or sunbathing, the moles would turn cancerous. Gemma still has several moles on her skin, but has stopped using sunbeds completely.
She also wears sunblock when holidaying in a hot country and said: “Sunbathing or using sunbeds just isn’t worth the risk just to get a tan for a few days. When my doctor told me I was putting myself at risk of skin cancer I was really scared – with so many moles, I know I have to be really careful now. I still like to look tanned, so I use fake tan now, but would never go back to using sunbeds. My health is far more important to me!”
There will of course be times when being in the sun is unavoidable, such as at a summer festival or whilst walking outdoors on a hot day. It’s also important to spend some time in the sun, as this is the best way of getting a good supply of Vitamin D, which helps keep our immune systems healthy.
However, if you are going to be spending some time outdoors, there are a few measures you can take to protect yourself from exposure to UV rays.
Dermatologist Dr Adam Friedmann said: “It’s particularly important children and teenagers stay safe in the sun as skin damage from UV light that occurs in childhood usually won’t show up until many years later. Wearing a high factor SPF sun cream (with 5-star UVA protection) is imperative and those with fairer skin should consider covering up their exposed skin when in direct sunlight.”
Lots of people want to look tanned, because bronzed skin can make us look healthier and more toned, and feel more confident.
Using a fake tan is the best way to get a tan without being exposed to the sun’s damaging rays. There are many fake tan products available, but it’s always best to look for a natural and organic product, because some brands of fake tan contain synthetic chemicals like parabens, which are thought might be linked to certain cancers.
Remember that some of what we put onto our skin can be absorbed into our bodies, especially on young, delicate skin, so it’s always best to try and opt for natural and organic skincare, makeup and fake tan where possible.
TanOrganic was founded by Noelle O’Connor, who noticed a real need for an organic fake tanning product as an alternative to the chemical-laden products on the market. Noelle is passionate about educating people about the real dangers of sunbathing and using sunbeds and so has teamed up with Trekstock. TanOrganic donates a percentage of its profits to the charity.
Visit our website for more information on our range of certified organic tanning products, and for video tutorials on how to apply fake tan to get the best possible finish. You can also visit our Facebook or Twitter pages for giveaways and special offers.
Skin cancer is also the second most common form of cancer for young people aged 15-29. However, nine out of ten skin cancer cases could be prevented.
How can I encourage my child to protect themselves against skin cancer and premature ageing?
Tanning makes us look healthier, younger and slimmer, so it’s no wonder that it is so popular, particularly amongst teenagers. We know that it’s difficult to encourage teenagers to abstain from sunbathing completely, but there are ways in which they can get a healthy, natural looking tan without having to risk getting skin cancer in later life, or premature skin ageing.
Fake tanning products are the safest way to achieve a bronzed glow, particularly when choosing a natural and organic product. Because some high street brands contain chemicals, some parents are, quite rightly, reluctant to let their children use fake tan. However, TanOrganic’s range of fake tanning products are certified organic and contain only natural ingredients – all of which are good enough to eat!
We know that teenagers don’t have endless supplies of income, but our fake tanning lotion has recently been voted best value tan by the media; a 100 ml bottle lasts an average of five to six full body tans.
Dr Adam Friedmann, a dermatologist at The Harley Street Dermatology Clinic said: “It’s important to remember if treated early enough malignant melanoma is curable, so warning signs to look out for include rapidly growing or enlarging moles, moles that change shape and become irregular or asymmetrical, blurring of the borders of a mole, changing colour, particularly darkening, or more variations of colour appearing and ulceration or bleeding. If in any doubt though, get yourself checked by a consultant dermatologist.”