Three quarters of dermatologists think sunbeds should be banned in the UK, a poll has revealed.
Nine out of ten skin experts believe sunbeds on the high street are leading to a rise in skin cancer cases and deaths.
Sunbeds give out ultraviolet (UV) rays, and overexposure to UV rays is the main preventable cause of skin cancer.
Statistics show cases of melanoma – a deadly type of skin cancer – has soared in the past decade, particularly in younger people.
Three quarters of dermatologists think sunbeds should be banned in the UK, a poll by the British Skin Foundation has revealed
The survey of 245 dermatologists found 91 per cent agree the age at which people are legally allowed to use sunbeds should be increased from 18 to 21.
And 94 per cent think there should be stricter enforcement of age restrictions on sunbeds in the UK.
British Skin Foundation spokesperson Lisa Bickerstaffe said: ‘The dermatologists’ opinions appear to support research stating the potential to get skin cancer, including melanoma, is increased in those who have also used sunbeds.
‘We know that there is no such thing as a safe tan from UV rays, therefore, the BSF, in line with other health organisations does not recommend sunbed use.’
Charities welcomed the support after years of campaigning, including Melanoma UK which has petitioned the Government twice.
Gill Nuttall, founder of Melanoma UK, told MailOnline: ‘Anyone who uses social media should check out the photographs of youngsters who post pictures of themselves having been burned on sunbeds.
‘It is frightening. They are tomorrow’s burden on our already overstretched NHS.
‘Seven people die of melanoma in the UK every day. Some of them used sunbeds. We have to follow the lead of Australia and Brazil and ban them completely.’
Pauline Latham MP has already debated outlawing sunbeds in Westminster, and in February, Chris Bryant MP referred to them as ‘pernicious death machines’.
Ms Latham said an estimated three million Britons use sunbeds, which, according to the World Health Organisation, are as dangerous as smoking.
Wendy Shillam, health information manager at Cancer Research UK (CRUK), told MailOnline: ‘Using sunbeds can increase the risk of melanoma skin cancer.
‘And, far from improving our looks, UV rays can make our skin look wrinkled and leathery.
‘We urge sunbed salons to ask teenagers for ID and enforce the ban on sunbed use by under-18s.’
CRUK warned last week rates of the deadliest form of skin cancer rates – melanoma – have soared by 45 per cent over the past ten years.
The increase has been recorded in all ages, rising from the eighth most common cancer in Britain to the fifth most common cancer.
It’s also the second most common cancer in young adults, with rates increasing by 70 per cent since in 25 to 49-year-olds since the 1990s.
Sunbeds, sunlamps and tanning booths give out the same type of harmful radiation as sunlight, increasing the risk of developing skin cancer by damaging the DNA in skin cells, the NHS states.
Cases of melanoma cancer have increased from 2004-2006 to 2014-2016, according to the most recent figures available, to 26 cases per 100,000, compared to 17 cases per 100,000 in 2004 (pictured)
Evidence shows people who are frequently exposed to UV rays before the age of 25 are at greater risk of developing skin cancer later in life, but it can take 20 years for skin damage to show effects.
Dr Daniel Glass, a dermatologist from The Dermatology Clinic London, told MailOnline he would fully support a ban in the UK.
He said: ‘I see patients who are still using sunbeds, and more frequently those who have used these in the past and are now paying the price.
‘With sun damage, photo aging and skin cancer being the results of sun bed usage. I am surprised that sunbeds have not been banned yet in the UK as they have been in other countries.’
The International Agency for Research on Cancer says there is significant evidence that sunbeds cause melanoma.
But The Sunbed Association, whose members represent around half of the market, have challenged the BSF to provide robust evidence that prove sunbeds cause cancer.
Gary Lipman, chairman of The Sunbed Association said: ‘It really should be deeply concerning for the general public when an element of the medical profession suggests a ban on a legal and well regulated product.
‘This survey makes sweeping accusations that we take very seriously and we challenge the BSF to provide any unflawed scientific evidence to back up these party-line opinions and mantras because we know they simply cannot.
‘We have repeatedly requested meetings with the dermatology profession including the BSF in an attempt to try and clear up the misunderstandings they seem to have about modern day sunbeds in a professional tanning environment. No meeting has yet taken place and we have to ask ourselves why.
‘It is burning that must be avoided, not tanning, and for those able to tan a controlled dose of UV in a Sunbed Association member salon is, in our opinion, the safest way to tan.’
The survey comes amid warnings young people are heavily influenced to try and achieve a certain image by watching programmes such as Love Island, where young adults spending their days lounging in the sun.
Today, the Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Jackie Doyle-Price, blamed reality shows for the rise of cosmetic surgery because young people receive unrealistic ideas about body image.
The BSF advises people to visit their GP or dermatologist straight away if they have moles or a patch of skin that are changing shape, developing new colours, inflamed, bleeding, crusting or becoming particularly itchy.
WHAT DO CANCEROUS MOLES LOOK LIKE? CHECKING IS AS EASY AS ABCDE
The more moles someone has, the higher their risk of developing melanoma.
The following ABCDE guidance can help people identify moles that might need looking over by a doctor.
Look out for moles with an irregular shape.
Check for asymmetrical moles that have an irregular shape
Check for jagged edges.
People should look out for moles with irregular borders and jagged edges
If a mole changes in colour or is a different colour in one part than in another, seek medical advice.
Moles that change colour or have a different colours within them should be looked over
Any increase in size should be checked, but be particularly cautious of moles that grow more than around 6mm across.
Any change in size should be checked, but more than 6mm across is very concerning
The E section is generally classed as ‘elevation’; warning you to watch out for moles that are raised from the surface, particularly if this is irregular.
Yet, Dr David Fisher, director of the melanoma program at Massachusetts General Hospital, explains many dermatologists have different classifications for this.
His preferred word is ‘evolving’.
Dr Fisher previously told MailOnline: ‘Is it changing? Do you notice anything suspicious or concerning? That is key.’
Look out for moles that are raised or those that ‘evolve’ over time