The Daily Mail has today published an article displaying the skin of a 30-year-old woman and attributing the damage to the use of sunbeds. However, there are many misleading statements in this article which do not reflect accurately the research conducted in this area.

The Daily Mail claims that “Using sunbed just once a month increases skin cancer by 50%”. The Tanning Shop would ask the Daily Mail to provide references to substantiate from where this exaggerated statistic has come and to which research it relates.

The link between sunbed use and the risk of cancer has not been substantiated and indeed, the majority of research has been discredited as it does not establish a definitive (statistically significant) association which is a requirement in scientific research.

Key factors are omitted from the Daily Mail report;

  1. There is no reference to Kelly Hughes tanning frequency and session length
  2. The article shows Ms Hughes on holiday in the sun. There is no reference to how much outdoor UV exposure undertaken by the individual in her lifetime and whether appropriate SPF products were used. This is a very significant factor.
  3. Under-18’s should not use sunbeds and this has been the law in the UK since 2010
  4. Along with a hugely exaggerated statistic, there is no analysis of the cited research. This includes making clear the variables involved, such as home sunbed use and outdoor UV exposure.
  5. The scanner is a pioneering piece of equipment in relation to the proposed damage caused by UV exposure, but the article does not make clear whether this piece of equipment takes into account other damage. Damage such as that caused by cosmetic procedures, cosmetic products and environmental exposure and toxins

The Daily Mail report is biased in that it does not present more recent research with regard to sunbed use. Notably, one of the associated links leads to the benefits of UV exposure in relation to the management of the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dr. M. Papas presented in Montreal at the 3rd North American Congress of Epidemiology meeting in June 2011 and the omission of these factors was highlighted by summarising the key research data of the 7 epidemiological studies cited by the IARC. (Papas et al, 2011)

Dr. Papas demonstrated that when commercial sunbed use was reviewed in isolation of these other factors, there was no significant association between sunbed use and melanoma risk. Indeed, over half of subjects in the summary practiced unsupervised home tanning and medical phototherapy sessions. (Papas et al, 2011)

The Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine has found no relationship between sunbed use and the risk of developing Melanoma. The team at Leeds repeated an Australian study which is commonly cited in the media as definite proof that sunbeds cause melanoma. In a letter to the International Journal of Cancer, Faye Elliot described the team’s findings and the subjects tested in great detail. The age at which participants started tanning, use of sunbeds and number of sessions/ years since first use had no effect on the instances of melanoma (Elliot et al, 2011)

Despite being the largest operator of tanning salons in the UK, at no point has the Tanning Shop been invited to participate in any sunbed related research or consultation. The Tanning Shop strongly advocates regulation of the tanning industry and legitimate research.

The Tanning Shop provides free consultations for every customer in order to establish their skin type and tanning history prior to their first use of UV equipment. The Tanning Shop is consistent in promoting safe tanning practices in a professional environment and has been dedicated to this philosophy for many years. The Tanning Shop is committed to educating customers in the philosophy of responsible tanning practices.


Papas MA, Chappelle AH, Grant WB. The Effect of Sunbed Location on Melanoma Risk: A Pooled Analysis

IARC Working Group on artificial ultraviolet (UV) light and skin cancer. The association of use of

sunbeds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancers: a systematic review. Int J Cancer 2006; 120(5):1116-1122.

Internet References

www.vvg.no/doc/Nyheter/SunbeduseUKElliot.pdf  Relationship between Sunbed Use and Melanoma Risk in a Large Case-Control Study in the United Kingdom

Faye Elliott1, Mariano Suppa1,2, May Chan1, Susan Leake1, Birute Karpavicius1, Sue Haynes1, Jennifer H Barrett1, D Timothy Bishop1 and Julia A Newton-Bishop1