Model who smothered herself in Coca Cola every day to achieve the 'perfect tan' now has skin of 85-year-old
The now-55-year-old Dodds was diagnosed with Bowen's disease, an early type of cancer in 1996, after developing a "burning itch" on her legs
Artificial tanning and use of sunbeds for that perfect bronzed look have cost a former beauty queen more than just her outer appearance. Beverley Dodds, who back in the days was crowned Miss Merseyside, recently opened up about her cancer battle and the grave implication of her obsession with tanning. Having used sunbeds for close to 22 years, Dodds now has to deal with the "skin of an 85-year-old" as she details her battle with skin cancer.
The now-55-year-old Dodds was diagnosed with Bowen's disease, an early type of cancer in 1996, after developing a "burning itch" on her legs. Although treatment was meted immediately, the former model reveals that the process was painful, requiring skin grafting and invasive procedures. So much so, that Dodds now has to undergo regular treatments to prevent cancer from spreading, a task she describes as "incredibly painful".
“I’m always in absolute agony, my feet take a lot of battering - it hurts to walk," she told Mirror Online. "At the moment I’m going through photodynamic therapy where they put acid on your skin and then ironically they put it under light and that blisters terribly. It takes all your skin off."
As a result of all these treatments and the subsequent scarring, Dodds explains that she has developed a feeling of self-consciousness.
“My legs were always my nice feature and now they’re horrible and I have to cover them as much as possible,” the self-confessed tan-addict said. "It’s really upsetting to me because I used to love wearing a nice dress and now I feel embarrassed by my legs. It does knock your confidence, I sometimes put make-up on to cover the marks if I do wear a dress but it doesn’t really work and is still looks horrible. I always have to wear a plaster as well in case they start to bleed - it does take a toll."
So when did all of this begin? According to Dodds, it was almost two decades ago when her obsession with the tanned complexion made her install a sunbed in her bedroom itself. She and her sisters would be constantly using it, to the point where their father would complain about the electricity bill.
Dodds recalls, "I used to model for sunbeds and they asked if I wanted the £80 fee or a £150 sunbed and I said ‘Oh I’ll have the sunbed’ - that's how much I used them. I used to have it over my bed; me and my sister used to use it all the time. I remember my dad used to always go on about the electricity bills.
“There’d be a blue light coming from my bedroom all the time - if I only knew then what I know now about how dangerous they are," the former model-cum-pageant winner said, revealing the extreme measures that she applied to get her desired complexion. "I had a perma tan, like a dark, teak colour which isn’t really a good look actually... I used to wear olive oil and vinegar or baby oil and coca-cola. Or we’d wear factor 2."
Now in her 50s, Dodds, however, is encouraging young women to resort to fake tan than sunbeds.
“As I’m getting older, it’s getting worse and worse, I’m 55 now but apparently I have the skin of an 85 year old," she adds. "The treatments take all the elasticity out of your skin and it doesn’t heal as quickly when you’ve got problems with it."