ALLIANCE Councillor, Dr David Alderdice has urged the public to take advantage of a melanoma walk-in clinic at Belfast City Hospital today (Tuesday).
Dr Alderdice, a dermatologist, has tabled a motion before Belfast City Council to ensure that sunbeds are not provided in Council-owned facilities, saying that a signal needed to be sent out about the dangers of over-exposure to UV rays.
Dr Alderdice said: “Northern Ireland is not well renowned for its glorious weather, so at this time of the year, many people decide to top up their tan before going abroad on holiday.
“The danger is, that in an effort to achieve a tan, sun bed users are actually putting themselves at real risk by overexposing themselves to harmful radiation. A short, intense session can expose users to as much damage as a year’s normal exposure to sunlight.
“There is no safe level of sunbed use, and users have a higher chance of developing skin cancer. High use can also lead to premature skin ageing and wrinkles, blotchiness and broken facial blood vessels.
“As a dermatologist, I see the results of not using sunbeds properly, and spend a lot of time removing cancer from people’s skin, particularly young women. I would advise against using sunbeds, particularly in unmanned studios, for cosmetic purposes, and have seen the damage that overexposure can lead to first hand.
“There is a strong case for greater regulation and a code of practice for the industry, as staff should always be on hand to warn regular users of the risks they are taking.”