Sunless Tanning Product Use Tied to Reduced UV Exposure

Women who use sunless tanning products report less intentional sun exposure, use of tanning beds

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Use of sunless tanning products is associated with decreased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation tanning methods, especially among women who use such products frequently, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the Archives of Dermatology.

Rachel E. Sahn, M.D., from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues investigated the effects of sunless tanning products on tanning habits and behaviors, and determined characteristics of product users. A survey was administered to 415 community and university-affiliated women in 2007, and data on self-reported use of sunless tanning products and UV radiation tanning methods were assessed.

The investigators found that, in the past year, 48, 70.6, and 26 percent of participants reported using sunless tanning products, tanning in the sun, and using tanning beds, respectively. Tanned skin was believed to be more attractive than untanned skin by 92.7 percent of the participants, and 79.2 percent felt better about themselves when tan. Of the women who used sunless tanning products, 36.8 percent decreased their frequency of intentional sun exposure and 38 percent decreased tanning bed use because of product use. Frequent use of sunless tanning products was associated with decreased UV radiation exposure. Use of these products was independently associated with lighter complexion, frequent use of UV radiation tanning methods, feeling better about oneself when tan, and skin cancer history.

"Improvements in the appearance of sunless tanning product tans may allow wider acceptance by the public and further decreases in UV radiation tanning practices," the authors write.

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