The HSE is warning sunbed users that using tanning beds before the age of 35 can increase the risk of developing melanoma skin cancer by 75 per cent.
Sunbeds give out harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that damage the DNA in skin cells. Sunbeds can cause skin cancer, cataracts and skin to age prematurely, making it look coarse, leathery and wrinkled, as well as causing sunburn.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies sunbeds as carcinogenic to humans.
The HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and Healthy Ireland are reminding the public about the risks and dangers of developing skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland, with over 13,000 cases annually.
Between 2020 and 2045, it is predicted that the number of cases of melanoma per year among males and females will increase by 67 per cent, and non-melanoma skin cancer to increase by 110 per cent.
Dr Triona McCarthy, consultant in public health medicine, HSE’s NCCP says: “Sunbeds give out UV rays that increase the risk of developing skin cancer, both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer.
“There is no safe limit for exposure to UV radiation from sunbeds. It is important to remember that if you use fake tan it doesn’t protect you from UV rays. It is still important to protect yourself from the sun by following the SunSmart 5 S’s”.
UV is usually strongest between 11am and 3pm from April to September in Ireland, even when it’s cloudy.
The HSE advises people to follow the 5S’s to be protected from sun exposure.
1. Slip on clothing
2. Slop on broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen
3. Slap on a wide-brimmed hat
4. Seek shade
5. Slide on sunglasses