Sunday, 2 April 2017

DEAR 17 YEAR OLD ME: SUNBEDS AREN'T COOL

That right there, is 17 year old me, burning away in a tanning bed.

It's really easy as someone with naturally fair skin, to want to be tempted to lay in the sun for 3 hours or hop onto a sunbed in order to tan quickly. When the sun and hot weather rushes in and out quicker than you can say 'get the BBQ out!', us paler girls are always behind everyone else in terms of looking 'healthy' or 'glowing' as some people describe it. We're all wanting to be brown, but what even is brown? Sun damage. Literally.

I've always been self concious of my skin tone. I hated my pale skin growing up and I'm still not fond of it now, but looking back, I could slap myself. Why? Sunbeds. They're so dangerous, yet they're the least regulated 'danger' in the UK it seems. From my previous experiences, it's always been young girls working there, or an older lady with a magazine at the front desk that just wants to finish reading the Kim K article, which means they usually don't ever check for ID or advise you to take it slowly. In fact, I was so infrequently asked for any proof of age when I was 17 that it's really quite worrying to think that any young girl can use a sunbed if she pops some make-up on and acts confident - that's really all it takes.

SUN VS. SUNBED?
A lot of people don't realise that here is no such thing as safe tanning. If you're going brown, that's your skin trying to protect itself against UVB/UV rays. I wish I could have told myself this years ago when I used to leave the sunbed salon smelling burnt. If I didn't climb out of the sunbed smelling that familiar smell - I'd go back in for another 5 minutes until I could smell it. Burnt skin. I cringe at the thought now. Did you guys know that every time your skin burns, it doubles your risk of skin cancer. And just because your skin isn't blistering red, it doesn't mean it hasn't burnt, especially if you're pale. It might just feel a little warm, itchy, tender.. or you may not even notice! UV rays don't just affect skin, either.UV can penetrate deep into the skin's layers and damage the DNA in our skin cells. This damage can happen before your skin goes red or looks burnt. And in case you need it spoon feeding to you, cells that are damaged by UV are at greater risk of mutating and then dividing uncontrollably, which is what happens in cancer.

At the end of the day, no amount of £24 Kiehls Ultra Facial Moisturiser or £70 Estee Lauder Serum can save your skin in the long-term if it's damaged by the sun for years on end. We have one skin. We can't replace it or fix it once it's damaged. There are some really interesting studies online where sets of twins have been compared - one a sun lover, one an avid sunblock user.. the results are shocking. Suncream might not be glamorous, and yes, fake tan smells like biscuits and peels off quicker than a natural tan, but looking after yourself in the sun and not using sunbeds are two of the easiest ways to prevent damage to your skin in the long term.


"Just getting my skin used to the sun for my holiday!"

This is such a popular belief, it's crazy to me. Lots of people, who don't usually use sunbeds will go on them for a few weeks before going on holiday to 'prepare' their skin, or to get a 'base tan' .. but this does nothing. It doesn't prepare your skin or suddenly stop you from burning once you're underneath the sun in Egypt. Your skin doesn't 'get used' to the sun - it burns. Your skin will still burn underneath that tan, because 'At most, a sunbed tan is the equivalent to a sunscreen with SPF of just 2-4' [Source]

A few years ago I cringed at the thought of sunbed shops being illegal - they were my stop along the way home every single day after college, but now I can't honestly think of anything better now than just to ban them totally. They are always taken too far by people as it's so easy to get a tan if you have the time and money. SPF is not 'boring' or 'uncool', it protects your skin from irreversible, long-term damage. If I am honest, I wasted an awful lot of money on sunbeds, and it took a long time to build up a tan - it's just not worth it. And even if the expense has to put you off, let it - because unless you have a lot of money every week for a long time to build up a nice layer of sun damage aka tan, don't expect it to be a
 cheap way of looking cute.

Not such fun facts
Using a sunbed before the age of 35 increases the risk of cancer by 59% [Source]
Sunbeds provide no positive health benefits. [Source]
UVB rays can penetrate clouds. Live in the UK doesn't mean we're immune to needing sunscreen everyday.
Short, intense and irregular UV exposure, like you receive from sunbed use is the fastest way to damage your skin. [Source]

So there is my little moan for the year. Just kidding, there will be many more posts in which I write about my frustrations with products, people and other bits and bobs - but isn't that what blogging is about? It's not always flowers and a very cute marble background. Sometimes we really need to touch on the important subjects and inject a little opinion and controversy into the community. So tell me in the comments - do you think that sunbeds have a place in 2017? I would really love to know your point(s) of view! 


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11 comments

  1. I've never used a sun bed before and don't ever plan on it. The affects they have on your whole body are insane! X
    Kate// itskaterose.com

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  2. I used a sunbed once when I was 17 and have never used one since. I do try to take good care of my skin and was absolutely devastated when I burnt to a crisp on holiday in Thailand. I had lathered up in waterproof factor 50 and was reapplying every half an hour, but my skin still blistered. I don't usually burn or tan easily. It was so sore and uncomfortable and has probably done me no favours in the long run :-(

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  3. It always amazes me how many people still use sunbeds now the dangers are so well known.

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  4. I agree with everything in this article! I haven't used a sunbed before, and I definitely don't plan to! I don't even use self tanners, because I think pale skin is beautiful and we should all embrace it!

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  5. This is a really informative post! I used a sunbed once when I was a teenager and that's it. I have naturally fair skin and I don't suit a sunbed tan! I use factor 50 when I go on holiday and go a subtle bronze and I am happy with that. Great post!

    Em

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  6. I've used sunbeds a few times and while I know they aren't safe I think there's risk in a lot of things. But thankfully I don't use them all that often, maybe a few times a year x

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  7. Thankfully I'm a complete goth queen, I don't look good with anything other than my super pale complexion. It does making going out in the sun a bit of a hassle though!

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  8. OH dear I used to be addicted to these horrid things and my own teens are banned from using them for sure

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  9. Yes sunbeads are very unsafe. Good you are spreading the word.

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  10. Oh dear. I never ever been a fan of sunbed and I think they should be banned. xx

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  11. I'm glad somebody wrote about this. I'm more on a pale side and I'm proud to say I've never had a problem with it. I was always comfortable with my skin color (although people did try to put me down for it - go figure...)
    Sunscreen people!!!
    great post!

    xo Honey - blog Royal Lifestyle - Twitter - Instagram

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