A pale mother diagnosed with skin cancer after just three months of using sun loungers because she was frustrated with fake tanning strongly warns other tanning addicts.
Lucy Hartland had tried a variety of counterfeit tanning products to achieve a “luscious” tan that would not give her the permanent sheen she wanted.
Frustrated by her pale and freckled skin, Lucy finally decided to hop and hop on sunbeds for 10 to 15 minutes a day starting April last year.
After only three months of daily sunbathing sessions, the mother discovered a “ridiculously small” mole on her left shin and went to the family doctor.
The doctor referred 29-year-old Lucy to a hospital where skin specialists examined the mole and then flogged it before sending it for a biopsy.
Less than a week later, Lucy received devastating news that the mole was cancerous and that she had stage 1A melanoma.
Former kindergarten teacher Lucy underwent a second operation that included a skin graft to cover the crater in her leg.
After getting the all-clear, Lucy tells her story in an attempt to urge the Tanaholics to get off the sunbeds and get into the fake tan.
Lucy from Gloucester said, “I just wanted to get a luscious tan. I had no idea about the risks, I was so naive.
“I wasn’t comfortable with the color of my skin, I wanted to get a tan and get it quick.
“Fake tans didn’t work, they got blotchy, so I started walking on sunbeds for 10-15 minutes every day.
“When I started hitting the sunbeds, I saw the results right away. My skin looked better, my teeth looked whiter, everything was just better. It was a massive confidence boost in getting a tan.
“Within three months, I had stage 1A melanoma.
“When they told me I had it, I had no idea about it. I read it up when I got home and just thought, ‘I have a child, what should I do if it gets worse?’
“I got the all-clear, the melanoma has completely disappeared and I have a check-up every three months, but now I just have to be very careful in the sun.”
Lucy, mother of three-year-old daughter Marnie Rooney, shared her experience in a Facebook post in January and asked her friends to leave the sun loungers.
The post read: “WARNING PICTURES ARE NOT FOR THE FEINT HEARTED.
“28 with skin cancer? That would never happen to me because of a sun lounger” !!
“It is not easy to deal with, but it has to be made clear to others to realize it!
“You all want to get on a sun lounger and get a luscious tan, yeah? So this is the result of my skin graft and the removal of my cancerous mole … I’m nowhere near the recovery I should be and have now an infected leg that I may have to have I have another operation, I’m in bed rest for the next three days, I can’t even have my own daughter [right now] Because of the medication I’m taking.
“If this isn’t a lesson others have been taught and an eye opener won’t be anything! Do your research, understand the UV! Please make this all a lesson that is safe !!!”
Lucy had dabbled in fake tanning for many years but had not gotten the results she wanted, which led her to decide to try sunbeds.
Unaware of the risks, Lucy chose to use tanning accelerators on sunbeds she rented at home or in tanning salons when lockdown restrictions were lifted.
In July, Lucy discovered a tiny mole on her lower left shin and decided to have it checked out by her family doctor.
Lucy was referred to the Gloucestershire Royal Dermatology Clinic when specialists examined the mole, removed it during a 30-minute procedure, and sent it off for a biopsy.
Less than a week later, Lucy was told she had melanoma and needed another surgical excision and skin graft.
Lucy said, “Since the fake tans weren’t working, I just thought it would be a better way to try sunbeds.
“I rented a sun lounger at home and bought a 60 minute package at a tanning salon that I paid £ 40 for.
“I had no idea about the risks. I put some kind of tanning booster on when I got on a tanning bed.
“It didn’t hurt, it was like a ten minute vacation, it was beautiful.
“I had a ridiculously small mole at the bottom of my leg that I’ve never had before.
“I went to the doctors and they immediately sent me to the hospital’s dermatology clinic.
“The skin specialists took a look at it and that day removed it and sent it for a biopsy.
“Less than a week later, they sent me a letter asking me to come for a meeting that said, ‘Bring someone with you.’
“I remember thinking, ‘Oh God, that doesn’t sound that good,’ so I took my sister. They told me there and then and then what it was and that I had to have another operation.
“I then had a second operation where they removed what was left and I had a skin graft. I spoke to you and Macmillan, they were both brilliant, I couldn’t fault them.”
Although the operation went well, Lucy had scars on both her shin and thigh where the skin graft was removed.
Lucy said: “[After the operation] I had an infection in my leg so I did not recover very well.
“I’ve been in and out of the hospital and had antibiotics for a couple of weeks to get rid of the infection. Now it’s cured, but it doesn’t look good.
“It has a crater in my leg that is very deep and there is a big scar. On top of my leg I also have a scar from the skin graft site so I won’t be wearing skirts or dresses.”
Lucy is now recovering, always wearing sunscreen, and telling other tanners to avoid using tanning beds and using fake tans instead.
Lucy said: I decided to share my experience because people don’t understand the dangers, it can happen to anyone.
“I didn’t think about the risks, I didn’t care if I got burned and I would never think about using sunscreen. Now I put factor 50 on my legs once a day.
“My advice to Tanaholics would be not to go on sunbeds, it is not worth risking your life for a tan.
“If I go anywhere now I’ll fake the tan, that’s 100% the end of the sun lounger for me.
“It’s scary that it happened in just three months. I had the biggest wake-up call, it makes you see life so differently.”