I got addicted to sunbeds to clear my eczema but was left battling killer cancer

A WOMAN who got addicted to sunbeds was relieved it cleared her eczema – until she was told she had skin cancer.

Daniella Bolton, 24 thought that tanning beds were good to her skin. She also got the bonus of getting a tan.

Daniella Bolton was a self-confessed "sunbed addict" to help keep her skin clear of eczema

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Daniella Bolton was a self-confessed “sunbed addict” to help keep her skin clear of eczemaCredit: Kennedy News

The 24-year-old had tried using a variety of creams to clear her sore and itchy skin but found the few that worked didn’t have long-lasting effects.

When she read UV light is a treatment for eczema, given in a hospital setting, she didn’t see the harm in trying the DIY way.

Phototherapy using UV light can be used to treat eczema, but only if prescribed by a doctor.

Experts warn that high-street sunbeds can be too strong and not as effective.

At her wit’s end, Daniella slathered on tan accelerator and hopped on sunbeds twice-weekly for up to 12 minutes at a time.

The 18-year old from Edinburgh, Lothian said that she would also get a nice tan by doing this. I was happy with it so I kept going.

 “I had severe eczema on my legs, arms, and legs. I tried every cream and lotion recommended by doctors over the years.

“Nothing worked. Even if it did work, it was only temporary and would then flare up again. Then it wouldn’t go back.

“It was really itchy and embarrassing.”

After two years of regular tanning sessions the sales administrator spotted a small mole on her back while trying on clothes in River Island’s changing rooms.

Daniella explained that the mole had appeared just after her 20th Birthday, right near her left shoulder blade.

“It was not large at all. It was a deep brown colour with a slight raised.

“I didn’t have any spots, moles, freckles or spots on my back so it was very obvious to me.

“I can still remember looking at it and thinking, “What’s that?’”

Daniella was with her nana, Linda Bolton, 65, during the shopping trip in February 2017, and called her in to take a look at the mole.

Daniella dismissed the mole initially, thinking it was a minor spot. She visited her GP after it continued to itch.

For two years, Daniella used a sunbed three times a week for up to 12 minutes at a a time

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For two years, Daniella used a sunbed three times a week for up to 12 minutes at a a time
Daniella spotted a mole on her back while in a changing room

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Daniella spotted a mole on her back while in a changing roomCredit: Kennedy News
Daniella said she questioned her whole life when she was told she had skin cancer at just 20 years old

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Daniella said she questioned her whole life when she was told she had skin cancer at just 20 years old

She said: “They weren’t 100 per cent sure and referred me to a dermatologist [in May].

“They did a biopsy on it and a few weeks later I got the results, it was very upsetting.”

Daniella was given the devastating news that the mole was cancerous and she had melanoma.

Melanoma, although the most serious type of skin cancer is rare, is the most prevalent.

Every year, approximately 16,000 new cases are diagnosed in the UK of melanoma, with six Brits dying from it each day.

Cancer Research UK states that melanoma skin carcinoma risk is 16-25 percent higher for people who have used a sunbed. This is why Central Recorder’s Fantastic campaigns against Dying For a Tan are so important.

Daniella shared that “When I heard the words melanoma, I was really disturbed and I began to question my entire life.” 

“I spoke with my Nana about it and just kept saying to them, “Am I going to die?” Are you going to be okay? It was alarming.

“I’d never heard of anyone my age having it, I just started questioning everything. I was so worried.”

Sunbeds: Can they be used for eczema and are they safe?

Sunbeds emit ultraviolet (UV), which increases your risk of developing skin carcinoma.

According to the NHS, sunbeds emit more UV rays than midday tropical sunlight.

According to the NHS, sunbeds pose the greatest danger to young people. Evidence shows that people who are exposed to UV rays more often than 25 years old are at higher risk for developing skin cancer later on in their lives.

Sunbeds can cause premature skin aging, making your skin look dry, rough, and wrinkled.

It can even make your skin more sensitive to UV rays. This depends on many factors, including the intensity of the sunbed, the number of sessions you have, your skin type, age, and the length of those sessions.

Sunbeds for eczema

Phototherapy, which uses UV light, is prescribed by a doctor as a treatment for eczema in people who have tried everything else.

The National Eczema Society states that natural sunlight can reduce eczema symptoms by decreasing the skin’s inflammation.

However, it states: “Sunbed treatments in tanning booths are not the exact same as phototherapy given in hospital.

“The high street tanning industry is unregulated – you will not know the amount of UV exposure you are receiving and your skin cancer risk will increase.”

You can get cancer from phototherapy.

Daniella was operated on at St John’s Hospital in Livingston (West Lothian) in July 2017 in order to remove the tumorous tissue.

To ensure that the cancer hadn’t spread, she also had a second biopsy taken from her lymph nodes.

Daniella stated that the mole was actually very small. From the time they checked my lymph nodes, I have a scar under my left ear.

“The scar on my back is a good few centimetres bigger than the mole was but I’m just grateful that everything came back clear and I didn’t need further treatment.”

After hearing her results were all clear, Daniella described it as “the best day” of her life.

She said: “I genuinely felt it was the best day of my life when the results came back clear, I burst into tears of happiness because it was such a relief.”

After her cancer ordeal left her terrified and left “questioning her whole life”, Daniella quit using sunbeds and is now sharing her ordeal to show that using them “isn’t worth the risk”. 

She said:  “I was a sunbed addict. I used to go there every day, usually two to three times per week.

I would usually go for eight to twelve minutes.

“Sunbeds have become a distant memory.

It was so terrible.

“I’m definitely a reformed sunbed addict. Now if I want a nice tan I’ll use fake tan. Going on sunbeds isn’t worth the risk.”

The scar on Daniella's back where the cancerous tissue was removed

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The scar on Daniella’s back where the cancerous tissue was removed
Daniella had used many creams for her eczema but found nothing worked for her, so looked to trying UV light

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Daniella had used many creams for her eczema but found nothing worked for her, so looked to trying UV lightCredit: Kennedy News
Daniella liked the tan sunbeds gave her

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Daniella liked the tan sunbeds gave herCredit: Kennedy News
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