Health experts from NHS Yorkshire and the Humber are advising people to avoid using sunbeds before they go on holiday.
Many people believe that using a sunbed before going to hotter countries will stop them from getting sunburn. However, health officials from the region’s strategic health authority warn that doing this increases the risk of harm.
Professor Paul Johnstone, director of public health for NHS North of England, said:
“Prolonged exposure to the sun or a sunbed can cause sunburn, whether or not the person already has a tan. Too much exposure to the rays of a sunbed, or the sun itself, can increase the risk of skin cancers, both non-melanoma and melanoma.”
Melanoma, also called malignant melanoma, is a rare type of skin cancer which can start in an existing mole but it can also develop in normal-looking skin. The first sign of a melanoma is often the appearance of a new mole or a change in the appearance of an existing mole.
Non-melanoma skin cancer refers to a group of skin cancers that affect the upper layers of skin. Non-melanoma skin cancers are generally more common and less aggressive than melanoma.
“It is a common misconception that a suntan is healthy however by using a sunbed, people are risking their health.
“Both the sun and sunbeds omit ultra violet rays. If the skin is exposed to these rays too often it can become damaged, increasing the risk of developing cancer.
“If you do notice any changes to a mole or to your skin in general then you should contact your GP straight away.”
For further information contact:
NHS Yorkshire and the Humber
Notes to editor
Further information on skin cancer, including what symptoms to look out for, can be found at www.nhs.uk