St Albans tanning addict faces consequences on BBC documentary

Claire Oakley on the show. Picture: BBC

Claire Oakley on the show. Picture: BBC - Credit: Archant

A tanning addict from St Albans has appeared in a BBC documentary series.

Left to right: Gemma Cottam and Claire Oakley. Picture: BBC

Left to right: Gemma Cottam and Claire Oakley. Picture: BBC - Credit: Archant

Claire Oakley can be seen in episode two of a new BBC Three series called Face The Consequences.

In each six minute episode, people who enjoy indulging in vices are confronted with the possible result of their actions. For example, in one instalment cosmetic surgery enthusiasts speak to a woman who was left in a coma after a gastric bypass in Poland.

Gemma Cottam developed a stage three melanoma on her face two years ago after using tanning beds too often.

She had all of the lymph nodes removed from the left side of her neck and now has to live with a large, horseshoe scar across her collarbone.

Gemma Cottam on the show. Picture: BBC

Gemma Cottam on the show. Picture: BBC - Credit: Archant

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The former sun-bed lover has not been declared definitely in remission, yet. She has one more test to go.

In her episode, Gemma speaks to three fanatics - including St Albans local Claire, who confesses to deliberately using the strongest UV bed and lathering on baby oil rather than suncream to “cook” herself.

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The 21-year-old said: “The reason I take shortcuts when I am tanning is that I want the ultimate tan.”

Fake tanning creams are out because “if you look natural, you feel natural”, she claims.

Gemma answers: “The only thing that stood out to me most was you said tanning was your thing - you don’t do anything else that is bad.

“I’m presuming you don’t smoke or anything else like that. I just think, why don’t you smoke?”

Claire said: “I think in terms of education having this conservation is really important. I have never met anyone who has suffered in the way you have suffered.”

The International Agency for Research on Cancer state that sunbeds provide no positive health benefits and studies show using one increases the risk of melanoma by 16-20 per cent.

There are various types of melanoma, but stage three can be the most advanced and life threatening diagnosis.

The show is available on BBC iPlayer.

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