In the UK, a country known for its bad weather and lack of sunshine, there appears to be an ever increasing number of very tanned young people.
So just how are they achieving their golden tans? Some are opting for the sun-free option and are getting their tan from a bottle. However, it appears that others are turning to tanning salons, of which there are thousands in the UK.
While in China young people often prefer to remain fair, in the UK there seems to be a growing desire for tanned skin. So why do the British prefer to be bronzed? Often, they are trying to emulate their favourite celebrities, footballers, or footballers’ wives. Research from the British Sunbed Association suggests that many people believe a tan makes them feel and look healthier.
This is a belief that is most definitely not shared by Cancer Research UK. They firmly state that being tanned is not a sign of health. In fact, they are strongly against young people using sunbeds. On their website, they state that people who use sunbeds before the age of 35 have a higher risk of melanoma – the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
The dangers of tanning did not appear to concern ten-year-old Kelly Thompson who hit headlines in April after receiving severe burns from spending 16 minutes on a sunbed.
Kelly’s mother was horrified that her daughter had been allowed to use the sunbeds and that the tanning salon was unmanned. She noted that: “There was no one to give advice on using these potentially dangerous machines.”
Whether the British government has been taking heed of such recent tanning tragedies is not clear. What is clear however is that self-regulation in the sunbed industry looks unlikely to continue.
Just after Kelly’s story was reported in the news, the government issued a statement advising that people under 18 should not use sunbeds and that all salons should be supervised by trained staff.
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