Page last updated at 00:30 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 01:30 UK

Singer 'aged' to show sunbed risk

See what Sandi Thom could look like in 30 years if she used sunbeds three times a week

An image showing singer Sandi Thom with deep-set wrinkles and discoloured, saggy skin is being used to warn young people about the dangers of sunbeds.

Cancer Research UK used ageing technology to show how the 27-year-old Scot might look with severe skin damage, as well as natural aging.

The charity said it wanted a shocking image to make youngsters think.

The Sunbed Association said there was no link between the responsible use of sunbeds and overexposure to UV rays.

Thom, from Aberdeen, who admitted using sunbeds up to three times a week while at university in Liverpool, said: "The thought of looking like this when I'm 57 is terrifying.

"Having seen these images, I can honestly say I am never going to use a sunbed again.

While young people may be using sunbeds as they think they make them look good now, in the long term they are doing serious damage to their looks
Caroline Cerny
Cancer Research UK

"You can so easily get brown from a bottle these days, there is just no point in ruining your looks and risking skin cancer by using sunbeds.

"I hope the horrible image of me will make other young people think twice before they next use a sunbed."

The images were created by using a recent picture of Thom, and taking into account her lifestyle, images of her parents, and her typical UV exposure.

One image indicated how she could look in 30 years with skin damage that could be caused by overexposure to UV rays.

In contrast, another image suggested how she might look at 57 with natural age progression, and 70% fewer wrinkles.

UV exposure

Caroline Cerny, of Cancer Research UK, said August was a busy period for sunbed use in the UK, with people keen to keep their holiday suntan.

"While young people may be using sunbeds as they think they make them look good now, in the long-term they are doing serious damage to their looks," she said.

She added that using a sunbed before the age of 35 increased the risk of skin cancer by up to 75%.

Kathy Banks, CEO for The Sunbed Association said there was no link between the responsible use of sunbeds and overexposure to UV rays.

"Sandi Thom only used sunbeds three times a week, which we would not regard as causing overexposure to UV rays," she said.

"Sunbed users are very aware of the risks associated with UV overexposure, and most have less than 20 sunbed sessions a year.

"The greatest source of UV exposure is from the sun - not from sunbeds."




SEE ALSO
Teenagers warned over sunbed use
30 Jul 08 |  Manchester
MSPs pass under-18 sunbed ban
12 Jun 08 |  Scotland
Van Outen left scarred by sunbeds
17 Apr 08 |  Entertainment
Sunbed use 'puts lives at risk'
07 Apr 08 |  Health
A tan to die for
01 Nov 06 |  Magazine

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