Google searches for sunbeds soar - but health experts and charities warn of skin cancer dangers

As colder temperatures and longer nights draw in, online searches for sunbeds have skyrocketed, prompting warnings about the dangers of skin cancer.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 3:45 pm

Google trends data gathered by beauty retailer Just My Look revealed demand for sunbeds in the UK surged by a staggering 4750 per cent since September 22, the official first day of Autumn.

Blackpool ranked 19th in the whole of the UK for sunbed demand, and the beauty retailer also said they were being used 212 per cent more than this time last year.

But the dangers of sunbeds have been highlighted for many years by skin cancer charities, who urged people not to rely on UV rays for a tan.

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Google searches for sunbeds soared as Summer turned into Autumn, but experts are warning against their use amid skin cancer risks.

Marie Tudor, CEO of skin cancer charity Skcin, said: "Every year there are over 210,000 people diagnosed with skin cancer, and 3,000 people will die from it, seven people per day.

"But of those seven people, around 90 per cent of cases were preventable.

"This is a lifestyle cancer if I'm honest, a bit like tobacco and smoking. We saw a massive rise in people during lockdown turning to sunbeds because they couldn't go on holidays, and actually trying to burn themselves to get a tan, showing off their burns on social media.

"It's just shocking, and there's a real lack of education when it comes to sunbeds and cancer. We just think, if only they knew, if only they knew the dangers and the risks.

"We've lobbied the Government for a national campaign, because people - especially younger people - keep using sunbeds and it doesn't seem to get through."

Sunbeds give out ultraviolet (UV) rays that increase the risk of developing both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.

The NHS said people who are frequently exposed to UV rays before the age of 25 are at greater risk of developing skin cancer later in life, and that risk can be increased by sunburn during childhood.

According to Cancer Research UK, some 86 per cent of melanoma skin cancer cases in the UK each year are preventable.

And documents included in the NHS Fylde Coast Strategy for Cancer 2016-2021 showed: "Over the last 15 years there has been a steady increase in the incidence of cancer across all ages with the most common diagnoses in lung, breast, skin and bowel cancers across the Fylde Coast."

In the UK, 1 in 36 males and 1 in 47 females will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer - the most life-threatening form - in their lifetime, and many cases could be accelerated by changes in cells brought on by exposure to UV rays through sun exposure - or sunbeds.

A survey undertaken by the British Skin Foundation revealed that 77 per cent of dermatologists - skin care specialists - agreed that sunbeds should be banned in the UK.

Some 91% of dermatologists agreed that tanning salons contributed significantly to the rates of skin cancer in the UK, and the age at which people are legally allowed to use sunbeds should be increased from 18 to 21.

Lisa Bickerstaffe from the British Skin Foundation said: " The dermatologists’ opinions appear to support research stating the potential to get skin cancer, including melanoma, is increased in those who have also used sunbeds.

"We know that there is no such thing as a safe tan from UV rays, therefore, the British Skin Foundation, in line with other health organisations does not recommend sunbed use."