Teenager who is addicted to sunbeds is accused of blackfishing online

Teenager, 18, who spends 20 minutes a DAY on sunbeds reveals she’s been accused of ‘blackfishing’ but insists she is simply ‘olive-skinned’ and ‘tans well’

  • Taylor Humphrey, 18, from Mendlesham, Suffolk, has personal sunbed at home 
  • Says being tanned is most important part of her look and she’s depressed if pale
  • Teen says she’s been accused of ‘blackfishing’ – pretending to be black – online
  • She says she’s not worried about cancer risks associated with sunbeds because ‘smoking and drinking can cause cancer too and people still do that’  

A sunbed-addicted teen has revealed how her deeply bronzed look has seen her accused of blackfishing – pretending to be black – online. 

Taylor Humphrey, 18, from Mendlesham, Suffolk, says that being tanned is the most important part of her look and she ‘can’t leave the house without a tan’. 

However, Humphrey has received negative comments from online trolls, who have accused her of ‘trying to change race’ because of her mahogany skin tone – to which she responded ‘I can’t help it if my skin goes this tanned.’

The teenager says that after her first experience of trying a sunbed when she first turned 18, she knew she couldn’t be without one – and promptly asked her parents to buy one for her. 

Taylor Humphrey, 18, from Suffolk, who spends 20 minutes topping up her tan every day has been accused of blackfishing by online critics, she says

Humphrey says that being tanned is the most important part of her look and she fell in love with them after she first experienced them – and soon asked her parents to buy her one she could use at home

 The teenager says she’s not worried about cancer risks associated with sunbeds because ‘smoking and drinking can cause cancer too and people still do that’

She said she ‘fell in love’ with sunbeds and could ‘see great results’ due to her olive skin tone, before getting one for her home.

The teen reveals: ‘I was so happy. When I first got it I started off doing eight minutes at a time and built it up over a few months. 

‘I am now on my sunbed every day for 20 minutes. I would probably do more, but I will stick with 20 because that is the maximum recommended amount’.

 Humphrey admits that she would feel depressed if she wasn’t able to top up her tan every day and spends time daily lying on the personal sunbed to maintain her colour. 

‘I would describe myself as being over the top and very glamorous, so having a tan is essential for me.’ 

Taylor admits that she would feel depressed if she wasn’t able to top up her tan every day

‘If I don’t have a tan or go on my sunbed for one day I just don’t feel myself at all. If I didn’t have a tan then I just wouldn’t leave my house. Going on the sunbed is the thing I look forward to most every day.’

She says she was slammed by online trolls because of her dark tan and was even accused of blackfishing – a term used for someone accused of pretending to be black or mixed-race – by critics on social media.

The teen says that people were messaging her saying that she was trying to be of a different race: ‘I have received some stick for my tan but it’s not like I am using fake tan. I can’t help it if my skin goes this tanned.

Taylor was slammed by online trolls because of her dark tan and even accused of blackfishing – a term used for someone accused of pretending to be black or mixed-race on social media

THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH USING SUNBEDS

Sunbeds give out UV light that increases people’s risk of developing skin cancer.

Many sunbeds give out greater UV ray doses than the midday tropical sun.

Tans protect the body from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays.  

A tan from a tanning bed is no safer than one from the sun and may even be more dangerous if: 

  • UV rays are stronger
  • People use them for longer
  • People use them frequently
  • Users have fair skin or hair
  • Users are over 50

Past studies suggest people who are frequently exposed to UV rays before 25 are more likely to develop skin cancer in later life. 

Sunburn in childhood also increases the risk.

According to The Sunbeds Regulation Act 2010, it is illegal for people under 18 to use them in the UK. 

Signs of skin damage are not always obvious for up to 20 years but usually start with a mole that has changed colour or appearance, which may later scab or bleed.

UV rays can also damage people’s eyes, leading to irritation, conjunctivitis or cataracts.

Source: NHS Choices 

‘Someone had even posted a TikTok about me and my tan saying that I was doing blackfishing. 

‘Some people even wanted me to delete my social media. I just try to ignore people when they say stuff like this about me and don’t retaliate.

‘I just like having a tan. It is one of the most important things to me and makes me feel the most confident.

The teen says she prefers her sunbed to applying fake tan, which carries less risks of skin cancer, saying she is ‘feeling her best’ when her skin is bronzed 

‘I prefer tanning on my sunbed to using fake tan because fake tan can go wrong and sometimes doesn’t look perfect or even. I find it quite draining.’

The 18-year-old says she is ‘feeling her best’ when she has a tan and it lifts her mood, but began to feel depressed when her sunbed broke during lockdown.   

Taylor added: ‘It was a horrible time, and I just felt really bad about myself. I didn’t want anyone to see me without a tan and I had to wear lots of makeup if I ever needed to leave the house so I felt better about myself.

‘I know there are risks that come with going on sunbeds but it is like that with everything. There is a risk that smoking and drinking can cause cancer too and people still do that.’

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