Fashion world snubs sunbeds as agencies ban models from bronzing due to cancer fearsLeading model agencies join No Sunbed PolicyAgencies demand models use spray tans over sunbeds
Cancer Research: 'minimal use increases melanoma risk 50%'
Britain's top models have been banned from using sunbeds ahead of appearing on the catwalks at London Fashion Week.
Leading model agencies have signed up to support a No Sunbed Policy for all their models as the four-day event opens today.
The initiative comes in support of Cancer Research UK's R UV UGLY campaign, which is warning Britons about the health risks of using sunbeds.
Models on the New York catwalk this week sported light tans – difficult to achieve in winter without artificial methods. But Cancer Research and model agencies are urging girls to use spray tans, not sunbeds
Directors from 11 UK model agencies including Elite, Premier Model Managedment Storm and Next have signed up for the zero tolerance policy on sunbed use to protect new and established models from the health and cosmetic impact of using the ultra-violet tanning beds.
Cancer Research based the proposed ban on findings that reveal the first time use of a sunbed before the age of 35 increases the risk of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, by 75 per cent.
Using a sunbed once a month or more – something that many women consider to be minimal use – can increase the risk of melanoma by 50 per cent.
Sarah Doukas, Managing Director of Storm Model Management, commented: 'Storm Model Management is pleased to support the No Sunbed Policy.
'Supporting this campaign makes perfect sense as the wellbeing of our models is of paramount importance and we take a serious approach to their health.
Dying for a tan: First use of a sunbed before the age of 35 increases risk of melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer – by 75 per cent
'We do not advocate the use of sunbeds for any of our models, and recommend that they choose safer options if they require a tan – spray tans are easy to apply and can last a week.
'It is well documented that UV from sunbeds can cause serious skin damage, especially in the under 35s.'
Michelangelo Chiacchio, the CEO of Elite Model Management London commented: 'The welfare of our models is of the utmost importance to Elite Model Management.
Using a sunbed once a month or more –
something that many women consider to be minimal use – can increase the
risk of melanoma by 50 per cent.
'We hope that this will help to send out a strong message to young girls and guys that sunbeds will have a negative impact on their appearance.
'We strive to support the health of our models and will never condone the use of sunbeds for any job; instead we will always try to arrange for a spray tan should it be necessary.'
Carole White, Co-Founder of Premier Model Management, echoed this view: 'Premier Model Management pride ourselves on taking care of our models’ welfare and strongly support the view that models should never use a sunbed.'
Chris Lunn, SunSmart campaign manager at Cancer Research UK, said: 'We’re delighted that leading model agencies are backing our R UV UGLY campaign.
'Using sunbeds can make your skin coarse, leathery and wrinkly. The UV rays from a sunbed can also damage the DNA in your skin.
'Over time, this damage can build up and may lead to melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. So, if you feel you must have a tan, it is safer to fake it.'
After peaking in the eighties, sunbed use was thought to be heading towards a decline in the UK, but prevalence of the artificial tanning beds on television shows such as TOWIE and Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, the latter of which shows underage girls tanning on beds, and thanks to promotion by stars such as Katie Price, who frequently talks of using them, their popularity has had something of a resurgence.
A current resurgence of the trend for tanned skin has only provided more pressure upon young girls.
THE HISTORY OF THE TANNING TREND
It is widely believed that French fashion designer Coco Chanel first popularised the suntan.
In 1923, she stepped off the Duke of Westminster's yacht after having been on a Mediterranean cruise sporting a deep bronze tan.
Previously, tanned skin had been the mark of the outdoor labourer, and therefore one from the lower classes.
Suddenly, when Coco Chanel dared to suntan, it became the mark of luxury, a status symbol for the wealthy
upper-classes who could afford to tan out of season.
dangerous invention A Portasun PR poses in one of the firm's sunbeds
at the ideal Home Exhibition in 1985. At the time, their solarium – one
of the earlier models for use within the home, cost 799
Then, most tans were achieved the natural way. But with the invention of mass produced ultraviolet sunbeds in 1978, women could tan all year long (an early version was invented 86 years earlier in 1891 by John Harvey Kellogg, who created an Incandescent Light Bath, said to have been installed by King Edward VII in Buckingham Palace and Windsor Palace to relieve his gout).
In the Eighties, when affordable personal tanning beds entered the mass market, consumers could even tan from the comfort of their own homes.
As more research was carried out, the medical industry realised that tans, and sunbed tans in particular, were a leading cause of melanoma, and a trend for using self-tanning creams and bronzing gels took over.
As with all things fashion-related, the trend for a tan is cyclical, ebbing and flowing with the times.
The so-called heroin chic look
popularised by models and designers in the Nineties that demanded skin
be pale to the point of translucence has given way to the new brand of
beauty for the Noughties – one that puts high value hair, nails and tan
being entirely artificial.
What never changes, however, is just how dangerous a sunbed tan can be.
R UV UGLY campaign is urging all Britons to face the invisible damage,
lurking beneath the skin, that is caused by sunbeds caused, by offering
exclusive skin scans at skin clinics nationwide until March. People can
book by text, phone or by visiting www.mepls.com/ruvugly.