Uhthoffs Syndrome and using Sunbeds

Hi All,

I have Uhthoffs Syndrome which means if i have a bath my body heats up, and in the past i’ve had 2 nasty relapses because of this, hence now i can only have showers.

I have been searching the web on info on if using a sunbed would cause same symptons but cannot find any info anywhere?

The sunbed would only be for 3 minutes at a time but my husband is panicking about what might happen. Please can anyone put our minds at ease before i take the plunge thanks

Michelle x

Hi Michelle,

To get something clear, Uhthoff’s and relapses are two entirely separate things - one does not cause the other. Getting hot can certainly cause a temporary exacerbation in symptoms, but does not cause a relapse. Relapse symptoms are more prolonged, and persist even after body temperature has returned to normal, whereas Uhthoff’s symptoms are temporary, and disappear once normal body temperature is restored.

I think whether sunbed use would trigger Uhthoff’s depends on how hot you would get. I’m not a big sunbed user, but from memory, yes, it does get hot, so if you already know you’re heat-intolerant, it doesn’t sound like a good idea.

Besides, why do you want to use a sunbed? It’s pretty universally accepted now, that they’re not good for you, and increase the risk of skin cancer. Is it just because you like the tanned look, or were you hoping it might help the MS? If it’s the latter, it would be much safer and more effective just to take Vitamin D3 supplements, but even that is not 100% risk-free, without regular testing, as another poster has recently found her vitamin D had reach toxic levels, through unmonitored supplementation. So if you decide on that route, either opt for a very modest dose, or see if the surgery will monitor it for you, to make sure you stay within safe limits.


Hi Tina,

Thanks for your advice. I am not using the sunbed for vitamind D as i take tablets for this daily.

I am going to have major surgery soon and do not want to look pale, i use fake tans all the time and know i cannot use these in hospital (Worst luck)

I try to look good all the time and i hate my husband seeing me if i’m not at my best. I know he does not care about my skin colour, but its someting i need to do for my confidence.



I live in Australia and sunbeds are illegal here because of the unacceptable risk of skin cancer. Having huge scars on your body from having skin cancers surgically removed is not going to enhance your looks so I suggest you start accepting that brown skin is damaged skin and is already on the road to cancerous skin.

PALE is healthy. Brown is UGLY so stay out of the cancer boxes and be beautiful, healthy and ALIVE. I am sure your husband would far rather a healthy, pale wife and than a dead, brown kippered one.

And Tina is totally correct about relapses and Uhthoff’s.


There is a lot in your life at the moment that is not what you planned (MS, which I assume you have, and the prospect of major surgery). Maybe other stuff too. Anyway, I can see how someone in your boat would want to keep on top of the things you feel you have some control over (like what colour your skin is). But you know in your heart that it does not matter, and it is a pity that you are worrying yourself and your husband about blessed sun beds when you have so much on your plates.

May I suggest that you concentrate on other ways of looking your best? Treat yourself to a visit to the hairdresser, get your nails done, indulge in some lovely body lotion, whatever floats your boat and gives you a little boost when you look in the mirror. And get yourself as healthy and ready for the hospital stuff as you can be. Please don’t let yourself get fixated on this sunbed business. If there are worrying times ahead, there are better ways to get yourself looking good and in great shape to meet the challenges.



I am concerned about why you feel this desperation to remain fake baked even whilst undergoing major surgery and am concerned that you may be experiencing body dysmorphic disorder?

Let’s put that aside for a moment - even with major surgery, you can expect to be up and moving within a few days - a decent spray tan should last you 3 - 5 days.

By then you might be on your way home or at least able to spray yourself in the privacy of a hospital bathroom.

A sun bed may not bring about uhthoffs but may cause lasting damage to your skin at least in terms of aging and wrinkling and worse causing cancerous cells to develop.

How does your husband feel about your ‘need’ to stay fake baked? Have you ever watched ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’? The women and men on their invariably look far better after they’ve ditched their hideous fake tans and makeup.

Maybe your husband would prefer a more ‘natural’ you, have you ever asked him?

As I said, please consider if you are experiencing http://www.mind.org.uk/mental_health_a-z/7990_understanding_body_dysmorphic_disorder and if there may be an element of this, seek advice from your GP. You sound as if you are lacking in confidence, particularly in respect of self image and would benefit from counselling.

Becoming a couple of shades paler for a few weeks (if you didn’t manage to spray tan which I’m certain you’d have the opportunity to) isn’t the end of the world.

Best of luck with the surgery.

Hi Michelle

I am sure it would be OK - as all the sunbeds have fans now dont they? So your body temp shouldnt rise too much??? Let me know if you ever find out the real answer!

And good luck with the op - I am all for whatever makes you feel good about yourself, its not hurting anyone else.xx