herald

Monday 21 April 2014

Sunbed Horror: my nightmare burns from a 10-minute tan

Laura Goodwin

This is the woman who suffered severe burns all over her body after a 10-minute sunbed treatment went horribly wrong.

Laura Goodwin (32) was left with first degree burns following her first ever visit to a tanning salon.

She described how she looked like she had been "fried" after the ordeal.

Today the civil servant warned other women to "stay away from sunbeds" that left her with burns to 80pc of her body.

"Doctors found it hard to believe my burns were caused after just 10 minutes on the sunbed," Laura told the Herald.

"They were shocked and told me I was blessed that I didn't have permanent scars."

Earlier this week a court awarded Laura €17,500 damages and costs for her nightmare ordeal.

She told the Herald she now wants to warn people everywhere of the potential dangers of sunbeds.

Laura (32) was planning a holiday to Spain and decided to get a 'base' tan beforehand at Annette Salon Fryzierski at Castle Gate, Lord Edward Street, Dublin, in August 2010.

She was a first time user and claims she was not given adequate advice about the safe usage of the sunbed.

She sued the owners on the grounds of negligence in allowing her to use the sunbed for an unsafe length and at an unsafe power setting.

"The pain was terrible. I'll never use a sunbed again," said the newlywed from Ballivor in Co Meath.

"Salon owners need to ensure all their staff are properly trained," she said.

She opted for the salon's offer of a 100-minute course of lie-down sunbed sessions for €80.

When asked how long she wanted her tanning session to last, she told the staff member she did not know as it was her first time. She asked the staff member the length of another customer's session and was told 15 minutes so she asked for a 10 minute session. The machine was programmed for 10 minutes and she pressed the start button herself after removing her clothes. After 10 minutes, she left and went back to work.

"While at work I began to heat up and felt very warm. I finished work at 4pm with flexi-time and went home. I had a cool shower and put on after-sun but I had turned red. I looked like I was fried," she said.

Dizzy

Her future husband Mark began to worry about her. She could not sleep that night and went downstairs for something to drink. But she got dizzy and passed out. Mark found her lying on the kitchen floor. She had vomited.

The next day Laura visited a GP who told her she was badly burned and prescribed pain-killers and creams.

"I couldn't bear anyone to come near me. I had salt baths but I couldn't even bear for the cream to be put on me," she explained.

She ended up at the burns unit in St James' Hospital in Dublin where she was given stronger pain killers and anti-inflammatories.

"I couldn't go to work for a month. I had to wear very soft and loose clothing until I began to get better," she said.

"I still worry about permanent skin damage," she added.

She called for new laws to ensure that all sunbed businesses have mandatory training for their staff and wants warning signs placed on all sunbeds.

Nobody under 18 should be allowed use sunbeds and people should not be tempted by special offers, she said.

"I don't blame staff as it's the owners' responsibility to train them. I wasn't asked a single question about my skin-type or anything. And I didn't see a single warning sign," she said.

If beauticians need training to do fingernails, why isn't there proper training for providing a sunbed service, she added.

"I would advise people to stay away from sunbeds. All my friends avoid them. I got married last year and I got a spray tan instead. Never again will I go near a sunbed," she said.

hnews@herald.ie

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