Sunbeds more dangerous than sun

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The Independent Online
Sunbeds emit three times as many ultra-violet "A" rays as the sun itself, putting those who use them at risk of skin cancer and skin damage, the Imperial Cancer Research Fund warned yesterday. But more women are suffering from what the charity dubs "tanorexia" - the dangerous desire to have a permanent tan and use sunbeds more than once a week.

An average 30-minute sunbed session will give you the equivalent UVA dose as a day baking on the beach. There are three types of ultra-violet rays - UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC is the strongest, but is prevented from reaching the earth by the ozone layer. UVB is the most damaging to the skin and is particularly linked to skin cancers. Until a few years ago doctors thought that UVA was safe. However there is now growing evidence that over-exposure to UVA may cause skin cancer - especially in its most serious form, melanoma.

It also affects the middle layer of the skin, or dermis, damaging elastin and collagen. Injury to this layer is responsible for lines and wrinkles and sagging skin.