UV skin damage scanner tours Scottish shopping centres

A model alongside an image of her damaged skin detected by the UV scanner The scanner shows the damage caused to the skin by UV

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Shoppers will be able to see the hidden damage caused by sunbed use when an ultraviolet skin scanner tours retail centres later this month.

Individuals can get free scans and consultations as part of a campaign launched by Cancer Research UK alongside the Scottish government.

The scanner will visit shopping centres in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and East Kilbride between 15-28 October.

The ultraviolet machine will reveal the ageing effects and damage caused by UV.

The R UV Ugly? campaign, comes in the wake of figures released by Cancer Research UK which indicate that rates of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, have more than tripled among people aged between 15 and 34 in the last three decades.

About 100 people in that age range are now diagnosed with the disease every year in Scotland.

Jacqui's story

Jacqui Carruthers

Jacqui Carruthers, from Bishopton, Renfrewshire, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in March 2009 just after her son Jude was born, when she was aged 29.

She was referred to the dermatology department at the Royal Alexandra hospital in Paisley after a mole on her back began to change colour and became raised.

The 33-year-old believes using sunbeds and being a "sun worshipper" in general were to blame for her developing cancer.

"I used sunbeds because I thought they gave me a healthy glow and, when I had a tan, I would feel better about myself," she said.

"Now I know that a sunbed tan is far from healthy and I can't bear to see people going into sunbed shops, knowing the harm that they are doing to their skin."

The charity said the rate of malignant melanoma for 15 to 34-year-olds is now at eight cases per 100,000, up from 2.1 in the late 1970s and higher than the UK average of six cases per 100,000.

About 1,100 people of all ages are diagnosed with the disease each year in Scotland, according to Cancer Research UK.

UV rays from sunbeds or over-exposure to the sun can damage the skin's DNA and, over time, this damage can build up and lead to skin cancer, the charity warned.

Vicky Crichton, Cancer Research UK's public affairs manager in Scotland, said: "As the cold, dark nights draw in, we want to ensure that people realise that sunbeds are not the answer.

"Using sunbeds can make your skin coarse, leathery and wrinkly.

"We'd like sunbed users in Scotland to come and take a look for themselves at some of the damage that may be lurking under their skin."

Public health minister Michael Matheson said: "We know that using sunbeds is dangerous, but we are still seeing too many young people across Scotland putting themselves at higher risk of skin cancer through unsafe tanning.

"Avoiding sunbed use really could save your life and that is why this campaign is so important in highlighting how sunbed use can damage your skin and increase your risk of getting skin cancer.

"Jacqui's story shows us that you don't need to use sunbeds regularly to put yourself at higher risk of skin cancer."

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