A tanning addict who used a sunbed nearly every day for three years has been left scarred after a tumour grew on her face.
Anna Taylor spent an hour each night, six nights a week, under the tanning bulbs in her spare room in a bid to keep a year-round tan.
After more than 900 hours, the 33-year-old gave up the habit in favour of fake tan lotion and kept out of the sun to avoid wrinkles.
But doctors discovered a tiny spot on her face was cancerous and surgeons cut a chunk out of her cheek, leaving her needing 29 stitches with a huge scar from her eye to her mouth.
Anna, from Worthing, said: “I was confident about my looks before my surgery.
“Now, at 33, and with a life-long scar stretching most of the way down my face, I am reminded daily that my vanity backfired.
“The scar will fade slightly but I will always be left with a mark.
“I am desperate to get the message through to young girls, teens and even ladies my own age that sunbeds are simply not worth the risk – I know that now.”
Anna, who is a radio presenter, first hired a sunbed for two weeks ahead of a holiday to Ibiza with her big sister Katie when she was just 18.
She then spotted one in the classifieds section of her local newspaper and snapped it up, spending half an hour on each side every night except Sunday.
She gave up the sunbed in her early 20s, but the damage was already done.
Anna first spotted a tiny spot on her left cheek near her nose in 2010, but dismissed it after a doctor said it was nothing more than a little scar.
But the blemish grew and after two people commented on it she went to see another doctor in January last year.
After a quick look with a magnifying glass, he announced it was a skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma – caused by exposure to UV rays.
Anna said: “I felt sick, absolutely sick.
“They kept saying to me that I must have sunbathed, but I don’t – I’m very vain and I don’t like my freckles and I don’t want wrinkles.
“They kept saying it was very rare for someone my age to have this and that certainly didn’t make me feel any better.
“It was only when the fifth or sixth person said about the sunbathing that I suddenly remembered about the sunbeds.”
Surgeons cut out the tumour – about the size of a 5p – and the surrounding tissue in two operations in June.
She said: “There is no point and no excuse for going on sunbeds, especially with all the self-tan products out there now.”