Wednesday, 20 August 2008

News from Cancer Research UK


Singer/songwriter Sandi Thom, aged 27, has teamed up with Cancer Research UK to warn youngsters about the dangers of using sunbeds. The charity has today published shocking images of how Sandi could look in thirty years time through overexposure to UV rays, which in some sunbeds can be 10-15 times higher than those of the midday sun.

The images, created using age-modification technology, show Sandi as she could look at 57 with severe skin damage, such as could be caused by overexposure to UV from sunbed use or regular sunbathing. The image shows Sandi with deep-set wrinkles, sagging skin, drooping eyelids, large bags around her eye area and skin discolouration, which are associated with the skin losing its suppleness and elasticity.

In contrast, another image shows how Sandi might look at 57 with natural age progression – depicting a natural more fresh-faced look with 70 per cent fewer wrinkles and far less sagging skin.

Sandi used to be a regular sunbed user and would visit her local tanning salon up to three times a week while at university in Liverpool. Using a recent picture of Sandi, the images were created taking into account Sandi’s lifestyle, images of her parents, and her typical UV exposure.

August is a key time for sunbed use in the UK as people returning from their holidays attempt to keep their summer glow. Cancer Research UK commissioned the age modification images of Sandi as part of its SunSmart campaign, which this year is encouraging young people to think twice before they next get on a sunbed.

Sunbeds not only damage people’s appearance, they also significantly increase the risk of skin cancer. Using a sunbed before the age of 35 increases the risk of skin cancer by up to 75 per cent.

Sandi Thom said, “I’m in a state of shock and the thought of looking like this at 57 is terrifying. Having seen these images I can honestly say I am never going to use a sunbed again.

“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.”

Caroline Cerny, SunSmart campaign manager at Cancer Research UK added, “We want to provide young people with a shocking visual representation of how sunbeds and over exposure to the sun can dramatically affect the way you look further down the line.

“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.”

For more information on SunSmart please visit

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