SOME energy-saving light bulbs can harm skin, health experts warned yesterday.
Research found the bulbs emit ultraviolet radiation which causes redness if used close to the skin for prolonged periods.
People who use reading or desk lamps and those who do close work under the bulbs could be at risk.
Patients who have medical conditions that make them sensitive to UV lights may also be affected. The warning applied to some unencapsulated fluorescent light bulbs - where the shape of the coil is clearly visible.
The Health Protection Agency said people should not use the bulbs closer than a foot to the body for more than one hour a day.
But they stressed that there was no risk of skin cancer and that families should not ditch energy-saving bulbs for traditional ones.
The agency's chief executive Justin McCracken said: "At the exposure levels we are talking about, the worst effect that we believe there is as a result of our investigation is that people could have some short-time reddening of their skin.
"We are advising people to avoid using the open lightbulbs for prolonged close work until the problem is sorted out and to use encapsulated bulbs instead."
Around one in five of 53 unencapsulated bulbs tested was found to have UV emissions.
Professor Harry Moseley, of Dundee University, said: "We are concerned about risks to patients who have severe light-sensitive skin disorders.
"The small levels of UV emitted by some low-energy light bulbs could be harmful."
It can not be that bad or they would recall them all, but you now have been warned
Environmentalists have pushed to abolish traditional incandescent light bulbs, in order to reduce the amount of electricity needed to light up our homes. Energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs popular among environmentalists are harmful to skin, researchers at a New York university have found.