R UV Ugly Cancer charity puts ultraviolet skin scanner in shopping centres to warn of the damage caused by sunbeds
Machine will be used to show shoppers the ageing effects and hidden damage caused by using sunbedsMalignant melanoma rates have more than tripled among people aged between 15 and 34 in the last three decades
01:05 GMT, 10 October 2012
An ultraviolet skin scanner which highlights the risks of sunbed use is to visit shopping centres as part of a new campaign.
The R UV Ugly campaign aims to show shoppers the ageing effects and hidden damage caused by using sunbeds.
Cancer Research UK said new figures show that rates of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, have more than tripled among people aged between 15 and 34 in the last three decades, with about 100 people in this age range diagnosed with the disease every year.
Hidden skin secrets: Kelly Hughes and an image of her damaged skin that UV scanners can detect. An ultraviolet skin scanner which highlights the risks of sunbed use is to visit shopping centres around the country as part of a new campaign
Kelly Hughes, an account manager from Beaconsfield, Bucks, tested out the scanner and was shocked by the results.
The 30-year-old began using sunbeds at her local gym when she was 16, because she did not want to be pale.
She said she knew she was at risk of cancer because of her pale skin, but 'didn’t really want to think about that.'
Her habit continued into her older years and she spent her university period looking tanned.
On seeing the results of the scan she told the Sun they were a 'shocker.'
'It really made me think. It was scary. I’ve not had any sunbeds since – not for Christmas parties and not for New Year. I’ve been looking online for a bronzer.'
Damage: UV rays from sunbeds or over-exposure to the sun can damage the skin's DNA and, over time, this damage can build up and lead to skin cancer
The campaign, which is being launched by Cancer Research UK in partnership with the Scottish Government and the scanners will be available around Scotland.
Cancer Research UK said
the rate of malignant melanoma for the age group is now at eight cases
per 100,000, up from 2.1 in the late 1970s and higher than the UK
average of six cases per 100,000.
rays from sunbeds or over-exposure to the sun can damage the skin's DNA
and, over time, this damage can build up and lead to skin cancer, the
Jacqui Carruthers, from
Bishopton, Renfrewshire, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in March
2009 just after her son Jude was born when she was aged 29.
She was referred to the dermatology department at the Royal Alexandra hospital in Paisley after a mole on her back began to change colour and became raised.
Sunbed user: Jacqui Carruthers, from Bishopton, Renfrewshire, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in March 2009 just after her son Jude was born when she was aged 29
The 33-year-old survivor believes using sunbeds and being a 'sun worshipper' in general were to blame for her developing cancer.
used sunbeds because I thought they gave me a healthy glow and, when I
had a tan, I would feel better about myself,' she said.
'Now I know that a sunbed tan is far from healthy and I can't bear to see people going into sunbed shops, knowing the harm that they are doing to their skin.
Tanned: The 33-year-old survivor believes using sunbeds and being a 'sun worshipper' in general were to blame for her developing cancer
'I hope the R UV Ugly skin scanner gives people an insight into the damage they are doing to their skin and shows them that using sunbeds can eventually make you look old before your time.'
The UV skin scanner will visit shopping centres in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and East Kilbride between October 15 and 28, and people will be offered free scans and consultations.
Vicky Crichton, Cancer Research UK's public affairs manager in Scotland, said: 'As the cold, dark nights draw in, we want to ensure that people realise that sunbeds are not the answer.
'Using sunbeds can make your skin coarse, leathery and wrinkly.
'We'd like sunbed users in Scotland to come and take a look for themselves at some of the damage that may be lurking under their skin.'
Public health minister Michael Matheson said: 'We know that using sunbeds is dangerous, but we are still seeing too many young people across Scotland putting themselves at higher risk of skin cancer through unsafe tanning.
'Avoiding sunbed use really could save your life and that is why this campaign is so important in highlighting how sunbed use can damage your skin and increase your risk of getting skin cancer.
'Jacqui's story shows us that you don't need to use sunbeds regularly to put yourself at higher risk of skin cancer.'