Skin cancer risk raised by just four sunbeds

Most sunbed devotees will be well aware that their love of tanning could leave them with skin cancer but new research suggests even occasional use could significantly raise the risk of developing the disease.

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Researchers from the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, found that just four sunbeds over the course of a year could increase the risk of some skin cancers by 15 per cent.

Regular visitors to tanning salons increased their chances of contracting three common types of skin cancer - basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (for which the risk rose by 15 per cent with four trips to the sunbed), and melanoma, the risks of which rose by 11 per cent.

The scientists insist the "dose-response" link between sunbeds and cancer was clear from their findings.

And this type of tanning was found to be particularly dangerous for youngsters.

Researcher Dr Mingfeng Zhang said: "The use during school or college had a stronger effect on the increased risk for basal cell carcinoma compared with use during ages 25 to 35."

In a separate study, it was found that our natural skin cell protection was at its best in the morning, suggesting sun-seekers should do their tanning early in the day.

What do you think - are you still a fan of sunbeds or have you ditched the tanning salon for safer methods? Leave a comment below...