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Blog: If you're dreaming of a bronze Christmas

Bronze Christmas

By Maura Matthews
Tenovus Cancer Care's Prevention Lead

‘Tis the season to be jolly! We all love that extra bit of glitz at the Christmas party and putting in the extra effort to look our best when out joining in the celebrations. If part of that is achieving the bronzed god/goddess look, think carefully about how you’re going to get it. Don’t make this year’s Christmas celebrations the occasion you increased your risk of developing skin cancer.

The World Health Organisation recognises the more you expose yourself to UV radiation from the sun and from tanning beds, the higher your risk of developing malignant melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.

Using a tanning bed is one of the quickest ways to damage your skin. It will make you wrinkled, leathery and look old quicker and you put yourself at risk of skin cancer every time you use one. When you use a tanning bed, your skin goes brown to protect itself from the damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. The intensity of UV rays in some tanning beds can be more than 10 times stronger than the midday Mediterranean sun, so they're definitely not safe!

Using a tanning bed increases your risk of developing all types of skin cancers but using a tanning bed before the age of 35 increases your risk of melanoma (the most dangerous type of skin cancer) by more than 60%. Recent statistics from Cancer Research UK have shown an alarming increase in Melanoma among women in their 20s and tanning beds are believed to be a contributory factor. Melanoma is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in their 20s and is responsible for around 2,400 deaths in the UK every year. That's more than 6 every day, but 86% of cases are preventable.

One session on the tanning bed increases your risk of squamous cell skin cancer by 67% and basal cell skin cancer by 29%. These are rarely lethal but surgical treatment is painful and often disfiguring. Also over time your skin will wrinkle and look aged and UV radiation can damage your eyes and eyesight.

So with that in mind, perhaps you should go all out ‘Strictly’ this year and get that same bronzed look with a spray tan. It’s safer and it doesn't have to cost the earth. Check out your local beauty college as their salon prices are much cheaper, and you can get a spray tan at a great price.

Look gorgeous………………but stay safe.