London: Teenagers who use sunbeds are at a two-fold risk of developing the most dangerous form of skin cancer, a study by researchers in Australia has revealed.
The findings have shown that the earlier sunbed use begins, the greater the risk of developing the deadly melanoma before the age of 40.
Those who start before they turn 20 are 88 percent more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than people who have never used a sunbed.
The study suggests that people up to the age of 25 may be more sensitive to the dangers of UV radiation, which is emitted from sunbeds at more intense levels than found in natural daylight.
Of sunbed users diagnosed with skin cancer between the ages of 18 and 29, some 76 percent were likely to have developed the condition as a direct result of using UV booths.
But for those diagnosed around 10 years later, up to the age of 39, only 13 percent of cases could be attributed to sunbeds.
"The message here is compelling. The researchers showed that sunbed use is associated with an increased risk of early-onset melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer," dailymail.co.uk quoted skin cancer expert Conal Perrett from The Cadogan Clinic in London as saying.
"This risk increased with an earlier age at first use. Unfortunately, too many young people continue to use sunbeds without fully appreciating the risks," Perrett added.
The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Melbourne, involved more than 600 people who had been diagnosed with skin cancer between the ages of 18 and 39. They found that 23 percent had used sunbeds at some point in their lives and on average they had started using them at the age of 22.
The risk of developing melanoma was found to be 41 percent greater among the sunbed users.
The risk increased the more frequently sunbeds had been used.
If the participants had used a sunbed before the age of 25, the risk of skin cancer compared with "never users" was 64 percent higher.