Lifetime history of indoor tanning in young people: a retrospective assessment of initiation, persistence, and correlates Full Text

The radiation and tanning experts at the FDA disagree with the tanning industry on this one. The skin’s reaction to the assault of UVA and UVB rays from indoor tanning or outdoor sun exposure is the production of melanin, the pigment within one’s skin that darkens it to a tan. Thus a tan is a sign of damage to the skin that a person’s body is working to protect against. The CDC notes that aside from melanoma, indoor tanning can also lead to basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, the other two forms of skin cancer, as well as ocular melanoma (cancer of the eye) and even cataracts.

  • In addition, 21 US states require parental consent or accompaniment for tanning bed use [65].
  • Meta-analyses reporting indoor UVR tanning and risk of cutaneous melanoma.
  • Attempting to shed more light on the motivations for tanning-seeking behaviors may pave the way to targeted and impactful strategies to decrease indoor tanning.
  • This risk of skin cancer is even higher with the more frequent use of sunbeds, underscoring a dose–response relationship, and in those first exposed to sunbeds at a younger age.
  • (Performance standards, among other things, help ensure devices function as intended, which may help to reduce risks to consumers.) FDA has advised manufacturers that this schedule should provide for exposures of no more than three sessions in the first week.

Studies show that users of tanning beds and tanning lamps have much higher risks of basal and squamous cell carcinoma, the two most common types of skin cancer. Doctors also know that young people are more at risk for melanoma, the most serious kind of skin cancer. It used to be that mostly older people got melanoma, but doctors now see more people in their twenties (or even younger) with serious cases of skin cancer. Legislation of indoor tanning restrictions varies across countries. Pawlak et al. provided a comprehensive list of 2011 legislation of indoor tanning restrictions across countries. In addition, 21 US states require parental consent or accompaniment for tanning bed use [65].

Daftar isi


The influences of the industry are complex and there is a need to account for industry funding and financial conflict of interests in publications related to indoor tanning. In their systematic review, Adekunle et al., in 2020, reported that 7.2% of articles on indoor tanning had financial links to the indoor tanning industry, and among these, the majority (78%) favored indoor tanning [91]. Advocates of tanning devices sometimes argue that using these devices is less dangerous than sun tanning because the intensity of UV radiation and the time spent tanning can be controlled. In fact, sunlamps may be more dangerous than the sun because they can be used at the same high intensity every day of the year—unlike the sun whose intensity varies with the time of day, the season, and cloud cover. The truth is that UVB radiation leads to the production of vitamin D. This means that tanning delivers almost no vitamin D benefit while increasing the risk of skin cancer.

The median age of the sample at the time of skin biopsy was approximately 37 years old. Both male and female indoor tanners sunbathed outdoors more frequently than those who had never tanned indoors. We did not observe any other significant differences between male indoor tanners and males who had never tanned indoors. Among females, those who had never tanned indoors had higher body mass indices (BMIs) than those who tanned indoors. Female indoor tanners were also more likely to have darker eye color and skin color, and to have skin that tanned deeply with prolonged sun exposure than females who had never tanned indoors. Additionally, etiologic studies in younger populations with a high prevalence of indoor tanning show evidence of a dose-response relationship, with higher risk observed for increasing frequency and duration of indoor tanning for both melanoma [19, 20] and BCC [18].

Indoor tanning: Evidence surrounding advertised health claims

The typical indoor tanner is female and late adolescent or young adult [16,26,27]. A review of determinants of sunbed use in Europe reported that the typical sunbed users in Europe are young-adult women, with a medium/high socio-economic status. In this study, women were 2–3 times more likely to use indoor tanning than males across all age groups [15]. A higher prevalence of sunbed use has been reported in sexual-minority men (including men who identify as homosexual, gay, bisexual, or other) compared to heterosexual men [28,29]. Motivations for indoor tanning among sexual-minority men include perceived appealing appearance, mood elevation, and perceived ‘healthy’ appearance of tanned skin [29,30].

How often can you indoor tan?

Most indoor tanning experts recommend three sessions per week until a tan develops, then two sessions per week after that to keep the tan.

A person who is 17 years of age shall be permitted to use a tanning facility only with the written authorization of a parent or legal guardian. The Act states that all tanning facilities (defined as any location in the Commonwealth where a tanning device is used for a fee, membership dues or any other compensation) are required to register with the Department of Health. The fee is based on the number of sunlamp products located at each facility. $150 (includes first two sunlamp products) $300 for a facility that operates more than two sunlamp products, plus $20.00 for each additional sunlamp product more than 10.

Wear Sunscreen

Another option is a spray tan, which will give you a beautiful all-over glow without the harmful UV exposure. Spray tanning uses DHA to deliver an instant bronze, and they typically offer a more even tan without the mess of self-tanners. The world has been struggling with an unforeseen viral pandemic. While COVID-19 has put considerable pressure on the health systems and created fear and uncertainty, it might in parallel provide a window of opportunity to put previously cemented beliefs and priorities into question.

And just when I started to feel less uncomfortable, it was time to administer the drug again. There were times I was just too sick to take another dose and was advised to hold off for a few days. Ashley Drury, 30, is a Florida native and stage 4 melanoma survivor. By Tracee Cornforth

Tracee Cornforth is a freelance writer who covers menstruation, menstrual disorders, and other women’s health issues. Medication, supplements, and some cosmetics increase your sensitivity to the sun, too.

Industry-linked studies more favorable to indoor tanning, researchers say

I attended trainings to learn about each layer of the skin and how the different types of ultraviolet (UV) rays affected the body. But I never thought that could be dangerous. Even after I heard horror stories about the negative effects of indoor tanning, I knew they’d never happen to me. Meta-analyses reporting indoor UVR tanning and risk of cutaneous melanoma. Available results by age group and dose/frequency of sunbed use are shown.

Indoor Tanning

Not to mention premature aging like wrinkles and age spots. The “healthy glow” from tanning is an indication of skin damage from ultraviolet rays. When our skin is damaged by UV rays, pigment called melanin causes our skin to change to a tan color.

However, not all research supports policy level changes as a sole means to curtail youth access. So much so that federal, state and local governments are taking action to protect anyone under 18 from exposure to these harmful UV rays. Thirteen states and many local jurisdictions have already banned the use of tanning beds by minors.

Every time you tan, you are increasing your risk of melanoma. Clear messages are necessary for raising the public’s awareness on the risks of tanning beds. Educating that tanning is the skin’s defense mechanism trying to compensate for further damage after already being attacked and damaged with UVR exposure may dispel the misinformation that a pre-vacation tan is beneficial. The implementation of successful strategies to educate on the risks of indoor tanning and promote an untanned appearance is one part of the equation. The evaluation of the short- and long-term effects of such interventions may select and determine those that are most effective, feasible, and sustainable [89]. From the detailed in-person interview, we also had a wide range of sociodemographic and lifestyle variables to evaluate as potential correlates.

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