New research by an online independent travel agency has revealed a rise in the number of women using sunbeds, despite their dangers, in the run up to going abroad in order to achieve a ‘base tan’.

Sunshine.co.uk carried out the research as part of an ongoing study into the holiday preparations of people around the UK. More than 1,900 women from around the UK took part in the poll, all aged 21 and over.

When asked, ‘Have you ever used a sunbed to achieve a ‘base tan’ before going on a hot holiday abroad in the past?’ 19% of those taking part said ‘yes’.

These respondents were asked how many minutes they had used a sunbed for, in total, leading up to a holiday abroad; to which the average answer was ’30 minutes’.

When asked why they had wanted to build up a ‘base tan’ before going on holiday abroad, the majority, 62%, admitted that they didn’t want to appear ‘pale’ on their first day of the holiday, whilst 14% claimed that they thought it would prevent them from getting sunburn on holiday. 19% said a base tan helped them to get a darker tan when on holiday. All respondents were asked if they thought using a sunbed was dangerous, to which less than half, 43%, said ‘yes’. When asked if they had been sunburnt on their last holiday abroad, 77% of those taking part said that they had.

Chris Clarkson, co-founder of sunshine.co.uk, said: "Holidays shouldn’t be about getting a sun tan; they are about relaxing and spending time with family, friends or loved ones. There’re no two ways about it – using sunbeds is a dangerous habit and it’s something that should be avoided at all costs.

"So what if you look pale on a trip abroad. Holidaymakers should always put their health and safety before vanity."

Words by Katy Pearson