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*Warning: This article contains graphic content and images you may find distressing*
A woman who used sun beds every day for three months has warned of their dangers after finding out she had developed skin cancer.
Lucy Hartland, 29, from Gloucester, Gloucestershire, was fed up of using fake tan because she felt it didn't give her a "lasting glow", so she opted to slather on tan accelerator and hop on the sun beds instead - visiting for 10-15 minutes a day from last April.
However, after just three months of daily sun bed sessions, the mum-of-one spotted a tiny new mole on her lower left shin, and decided to get it checked out by her GP.
The doctor referred Lucy to Gloucestershire Royal hospital where skin specialists assessed and then whipped off the mole before sending it off for a biopsy.
Less than a week later Lucy was given the devastating news that the mole was cancerous and she had stage 1A melanoma.
Former nursery nurse Lucy underwent a second surgery where she had a skin graft to cover the crater left in her leg.
Now, having been given the all-clear, Lucy is sharing her story to urge tan-oholics to ditch sun beds and embrace fake tan.
Lucy said: "I just wanted to get a lush tan. I didn't have a clue about the risks, I was so naive.
"I wasn't comfortable in the colour of my skin, I wanted to get a tan and get it quick."
The mum-of-one admitted the "instant" results of the sun beds were what lured her in.
"My skin looked better, my teeth looked whiter, everything was just better. It was a massive confidence boost having a tan," she said.
"[But] within three months of going on them I had Stage 1A melanoma.
"When they told me I had it, I had no idea about it. I read up about it when I got home and I just thought 'I've got a child, what am I going to do if this gets worse?'"
Luckily, after a second operation to remove the rest of the melanoma and a skin graft, Lucy has now had the all-clear, and the cancer has completely gone.
"I have check-ups every three months but I've just got to be very careful in the sun now," she added.
Lucy, who's parent to three-year-old Marnie Rooney, shared her experience in a Facebook post in January, begging her friends to ditch the sun beds.
The post read: "WARNING PICTURES ARE NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED. 28 with skin cancer?? That wouldn't ever happen to me all because of a sun bed??!!"
She went on: "Having to deal with this isn't easy but it's got to be put out for others to realise!
"You all wanna go on a sunbed and get a lush tan yeah? So this is the aftermath of my skin graft and removal of my cancerous mole... I am nowhere near the recovery I should be and now have infected leg maybe having to have another operation.
"I am on bed rest for the next three days, I can't even have my own daughter rn [right now] due to the medication I am on.
"If this isn't a lesson learnt to others and an eye opener nothing will be! Do your research, understand the UV! Please let this all be a lesson be safe!!!"
Despite the operation going well, Lucy was left with scarring on both her shin and thigh where the skin graft was taken from.
Lucy said: "[After the operation] I had an infection in my leg so I didn't recover very well.
"I was always in and out of the hospital and I was on antibiotics for a couple of weeks to get rid of the infection. Now it's healed but it doesn't look the best.
"It's left a crater in my leg that's very deep and there's a big scar. At the top of my leg I've also got a scar from the skin graft site, so I won't be wearing any skirts or dresses."
Now recovering, Lucy always wears suncream and is urging other tanners to avoid using tanning beds just to get a quick fix.
Lucy said: "My advice to tan-oholics would be to not go on sun beds, it's not worth risking your life for a tan.
"That's 100 per cent the end of sun beds for me. "It's scary it happened in just three months. I've had the biggest wake-up call, it makes you look at life so differently."
Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News & Media
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