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Sunbeds should be off limits to the under 18s and should not be used for cosmetic tanning – say scientists at the Health Protection Agency.

In recent weeks sunbed use has come back into the public eye.

The HPA's position on sunbeds is: 'Sunbeds emit UVR. Sunbeds cause tanning and can cause sunburn. There is no evidence to suggest any type of sunbed is less harmful than natural sun exposure. The HPA discourages the use of sunbeds for cosmetic tanning. Sunbeds should never be used by anyone under 18 years of age. If you are over 18 years of age and wish to use a sunbed then use a facility that provides guidance to users. Limit your use of the sunbed - don't have repeated sessions to build up a quick tan before a summer holiday.'

The HPA also advises that if people do want to use sunbeds then they should visit facilities that give appropriate guidance about the skin-types of people who should not use the equipment.

Further information on protection from ultraviolet radiation is available on this site at Sunsense. Protecting Yourself from Ultraviolet Radiation.


Last reviewed: 12 January 2010