So let’s rewind many years ago to when I was aged 14, I used my first Sunbed, this was a professional sunbed in a hair and beauty salon, as I had my work experience, the owner saw it as a treat to say thank you for me working there for the three weeks.

I can honestly say, from that point onwards, the addiction was there, I felt better, my skin felt clearer, I felt more self confident. I would continue to use sunbeds in the salons I worked in throughout my career within that trade.

I would also occasionally use a Sunbed at home, as you could hire them then for periods of time to use at home, in some parts of the UK, shockingly you still can! Many people did this. Many people also purchased them to use permanently.

Turning to more recent years and I started to use sunbed salons. All the salons I worked at, managed and owned had sunbeds, all the salons did then as they were so popular.   I loved being brown, I’ll admit to an addiction to tanning.  Despite some people believing that there’s no such thing as a tanning addiction, I can say from my own experience, there really is.  I hated being pale, I would tan some weeks 4-5 times.    

The salon that I used to go to was a member of an association.  A founder member of an association. During the years that I used the salon, I was never once asked about my skin type, my skin tone, my eye colouring, my medical history, indeed, the only questions I was asked was how many minutes I wanted and if I wanted a towel.  I would be asked if I wanted to buy an accelerant as they had a whole wall full of sachets and bottles, all claiming to make you browner, quicker and for longer.

Today, in 2021, I have an incurable cancer.  This was discovered a few years ago when I developed a small pearl sized lump on my left ear.   It was Melanoma.  The most deadliest skin cancer.   My team of medics (and there are many) have all told me my use of sunbeds has contributed to the disease.   My left ear and tragus were both amputated.   I don’t need to share the gory details of surgery, the fact is, I have no left ear and the unimaginable scarring that goes with that.  Following this sadly we did not obtain healthy margins, so I needed to have inner and middle ear removed, temporal bone removed, all salivary glands removed, I all lymph nodes removed, skin taken from right leg knee to hip to replace skin and vessels, followed by 32 sessions of radiotherapy to head and neck. I’m permanently deaf on left side, have poor balance due to loss of vestibular system, loss of sense of taste and texture on left side.  

Sadly, the melanoma has spread, to my right lung, breasts, bowel, sacrum, spine and both sides of brain.  I have had to tell my family and friends that my cancer can’t be cured.  I’m currently receiving a treatment which is my last chance saloon.  

My message - don’t use sunbeds.  Don’t start, just don’t.  If you have used them, please stop.   Today.  For me.

I can’t change my situation, it’s too late for me, but if reading about me can stop you and potentially save you, then that’s good enough for me.

Please listen, you have one skin, it’s your largest organ, protect it and respect it.      

Don’t die for a tan, it’s truly not worth it


Anthea xxxx

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