Smart Consumer: Your skin will rejoice at the sunbed clampdown
At this stage, most of us are familiar with the 'slip, slop, slap' concept of sun safety that originated in Australia.
You slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat to ensure your skin is protected from the sun. And, as evidenced by the fake tan on Irish skin the length and breadth of the country, we're familiar with the safer option of fake tanning too.
But skin cancer remains a problem (752 new cases were reported in 2008), and people still resort to sunbeds, the majority of whom are women under 34.
According to the Irish Cancer Society, sunbeds tan the skin by using UVA and UVB radiation. UVA radiation causes premature ageing of the skin and can lead to skin cancer. UVB radiation causes burning and skin cancer.
In fact last year the International Agency for Research on Cancers reclassified sunbed use as a Group 1 carcinogen.
Smoking is in the same category.
Good news then that just before the summer recess, the Dail approved the drafting of a bill to regulate sunbed use, introduced by Minister Harney.
The new legislation plans to prohibit the use of sunbeds by people under 18; ban the sale or hire of sunbeds to under 18s and in unsupervised premises; and instruct that warning labels are placed on sunbeds.
If you still want to use one, take advice before doing it; use eye protection; remove any cosmetics; leave 48 hours between the first two sessions; and protect any sensitive parts.
Remember also that fair, freckly skin that burns easily won't thank you for this sort of activity, and if your family has a history of skin cancer or you're taking medication that increases sensitivity, the best advice is to get out the fake tan instead.