A doctor has urged eczema sufferers not to treat themselves with sunbeds after a woman claimed they ‘cured’ her of the skin condition.
Grainne Kennedy, 19, has suffered with red, itchy skin all her life. She even claims her symptoms were so severe she ‘never knew what a full night’s sleep’ felt like.
On the recommendation of her family, the childcare worker, of County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, had four sunbed sessions, each lasting five minutes.
She recently took to Twitter to show before and after shots of how the UV rays supposedly cleared up her skin.
But a leading dermatologist has stressed sunbeds do not ‘cure’ eczema and any benefits will be ‘short lived’.
He added that, as a skin specialist, he sees far too many patients who have developed deadly skin cancer following ‘long-term sunbed use’.
Grainne Kennedy claims sunbeds ‘cured’ her eczema after just four sessions. But a leading dermatologist has stressed any benefits are ‘short lived’ and the habit can cause skin cancer
Miss Kennedy posted a picture of her red, scratch-marked arms (left) on social media to highlight how severe her eczema was. She followed this with an image of her clear skin (right)
Miss Kennedy posted a picture of her red, scratch-marked arms on social media to highlight how severe her eczema was.
She followed this up with an image of her clear-skin limbs, which she put down to sunbeds.
Captioning the posts, Miss Kennedy wrote: ‘Born with eczema and 19 years later I’ve started sunbeds and this is the outcome. Emotional and such a relief.
‘I never knew what a full night’s sleep felt like. Was always scared of the sunbeds and what the possible outcomes were but you’ll never know if you don’t try.’
Miss Kennedy claims her family recommended she try sunbeds to try and ease her irritated skin.
Although she was aware of the dangers of UV rays, Miss Kennedy added her condition was so extreme she was willing to try anything.
‘I was wary about them of course as they can give you skin cancer and all that, but I had to take the chance because my eczema was getting worse as the days went on,’ she said.
‘The outcome since I started using them has been brilliant. It was gone after four sessions of five minutes each.’
Social media users were amazed at Grainne’s discovery, with one even calling sunbeds a ‘saviour’.
Another impressed follower wrote: ‘Holy s*** I’ve heard of that before but may have to give it a go.’
However, others were more sceptical.
One social media user, who appears to suffer from eczema and was alerted to the post by a friend, wrote: ‘[I] saw this but think about many times I’ve been sunburnt.
‘I can’t add sunbeds to the mix or it will end badly.’
Miss Kennedy’s red, irritated skin was so severe she ‘never knew what a full night sleep’ was
She posted before and after picture on social media, which were retweeted more than 200 times and ‘liked’ by over 3,600 Twitter users. However, a doctor has stressed there is no ‘cure’ for eczema, with phototherapy only causing remission when carried out by a medic
Despite Miss Kennedy’s relief at her eczema clearing up, a doctor has spoken out on the dangers of using sunbeds.
Dr Adil Sheraz, a consultant dermatologist at the Royal Free Hospital in London, said: ‘Using sunbeds to self-treat skin conditions is not recommended.
‘There is no cure for eczema and sunbeds or phototherapy are not cures.
‘Phototherapy can occasionally put eczema into remission, which may only be short-lived.
‘When patients attend dermatology clinics they are assessed and a multitude of treatment options are provided, which includes phototherapy.
‘However certain patients will not be suitable.’
Dr Sheraz added he treats many patients who have damaged their skin as a result of sunbeds.
‘As dermatologists we unfortunately often have to deal with the results of long-term sunbed use,’ he said.
‘This includes treating fatal skin cancers such as melanomas or squamous cell cancers.
‘Phototherapy should only be done under the advice and supervision of a consultant dermatologist in a specialist department.’
ARE SUNBEDS SAFE?
Sunbeds give out UV light that increases people’s risk of developing skin cancer.
Many sunbeds give out greater UV ray doses than the midday tropical sun.
Tans protect the body from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays.
A tan from a tanning bed is no safer than one from the sun and may even be more dangerous if:
- UV rays are stronger
- People use them for longer
- People use them frequently
- Users have fair skin or hair
- Users are over 50
Past studies suggest people who are frequently exposed to UV rays before 25 are more likely to develop skin cancer in later life.
Sunburn in childhood also increases the risk.
According to The Sunbeds Regulation Act 2010, it is illegal for people under 18 to use them in the UK.
A similar law is being proposed in the US.
Signs of skin damage are not always obvious for up to 20 years but usually start with a mole that has changed colour or appearance, which may later scab or bleed.
UV rays can also damage people’s eyes, leading to irritation, conjunctivitis or cataracts.
Source: NHS Choices