Calls for outright sunbed ban in Ireland

How harmful are indoor tanning beds?

Image of a tanning bed. Credit: Evil Erin/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Is the urge for a perfect tan worth the risk of using indoor sunbeds?

A leading Irish dermatologist has passionately advocated for the complete prohibition of sunbeds, highlighting their significant role in the development of skin cancer.

In a recent interview with Newstalk Breakfast, Professor Caitriona Ryan voiced her concerns, highlighting the alarming statistics that associate just a single tanning bed session with a 60 per cent increase in skin cancer risk.

This statement was made amidst the growing skin cancer cases in Ireland, where sunbeds are already restricted to those over 18.

Rising concerns over skin cancer

In Ireland, skin cancer emerges as the predominant form of cancer, with annual reports showing 8,000 non-melanoma skin cancer cases and 800 malignant melanoma cases.

Professor Ryan drew a stark comparison between sunbathing and the use of sunbeds, emphasising the latter’s heightened UVA exposure and its potential for DNA damage.

‘It’s the type of UV that creates much more DNA damage.’ She said she would ‘love to see them banned’. This alarming statistic supports Professor Ryan’s call for an outright ban, mirroring actions already taken in Brazil and Australia due to health concerns.

The growing trend and its alternatives

Professor Ryan notes a shift in tanning preferences, with more individuals opting for fake tan solutions over sunbeds, a move welcomed by dermatologists.

‘People who would’ve gone to use a sunbed to keep their tan topped up a lot of the time now are using fake tan instead,’ she said.

This trend is particularly noticeable among women, while men, who typically shun fake tan, are increasingly drawn to sunbeds for aesthetic reasons. ‘They’ve become much more image obsessed and body obsessed… but they all want to have this tan,’ she added.

A critical health challenge

The dermatologist’s drive for a ban is driven by the distressing increase in melanoma cases, which have doubled over the past decade: ‘Even one session on a sunbed increases your risk of melanoma by 60 per cent,’ warns Professor Ryan. Early detection of melanoma significantly improves outcomes, but the disease can be deadly if it spreads.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.