Welcome to Sun Blocked, Refinery29’s global call to action to wake up to the serious dangers of tanning. No lectures or shaming, we promise. Instead, our goal is to arm you with the facts you need to protect your skin to the best of your ability, because there’s no such thing as safe sun.
Let’s state the obvious: Using a sunbed can be life-threatening. Around one-third of adults in the UK (where 2,300 people die of melanoma skin cancer every single year, according to Cancer Research UK) have used a sunbed at least once. But even just one sunbed session before the age of 35 increases your risk of developing melanoma skin cancer by 75%, says the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Despite this, people still flock to sunbed salons in the pursuit of tanned skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, 40% of 18 to 25-year-olds are unaware of the risks of tanning (such as premature ageing and an increased chance of developing melanoma), while 20% say that getting a tan is more important than preventing skin cancer. This is a terrifying statistic, especially when you consider that people who are frequently exposed to UV rays before age 25 are at higher risk of developing skin cancer in later life, according to the NHS. It's clear that we have a serious public health problem on our hands, and it’s time we did something about it.
That’s why Refinery29 UK is petitioning to ban sunbeds across Britain. Since 2011, it has been illegal for anyone under 18 to use a sunbed in England and Wales. But an outright ban is a move that scientists across the country believe will reduce the number of melanoma cases among young people — and ultimately save lives. It is an obvious, proactive solution that so many people will benefit from.
Let’s not sit around and wait for change to happen. We hope that you’ll join us by signing our petition here, because no tan is worth the risk.