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Study finds indoor tanning common among girls, younger women

Tuesday August 20, 2013
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Indoor tanning appears to be common among non-Hispanic white female high school students and adults ages 18 to 34, according to a published research letter.

Gery P. Guy Jr., PhD, MPH, and colleagues at the CDC used data from the 2011 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey of high school students and the 2010 National Health Interview Survey for adults ages 18 to 34 to estimate the prevalence of indoor tanning and frequent indoor tanning.

“Indoor tanning has been linked with skin cancers including melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and cancers of the eye,” according to the CDC. “Indoor tanning exposes users to both UV-A and UV-B rays, which damage the skin and can lead to cancer.

"Using a tanning bed is particularly dangerous for younger users; people who begin tanning younger than age 35 have a 75% higher risk of melanoma. Using tanning beds also increases the risk of wrinkles and eye damage, and changes skin texture.”

In the study, indoor tanning was defined as using an indoor tanning device (sunlamps, sunbed or tanning booth) at least one time during the 12 months before each survey, and frequent tanning was defined as using an indoor tanning device at least 10 times during the same period.

According to the study results, published Aug. 19 on the website of JAMA Internal Medicine, among non-Hispanic white female high school students, 29.3% engaged in indoor tanning and 16.7% engaged in frequent indoor tanning during the previous 12 months.

Among non-Hispanic white women ages 18 to 34, 24.9% engaged in indoor tanning and 15.1% engaged in frequent indoor tanning during the previous 12 months. The prevalence of indoor tanning and frequent indoor tanning increased with age among the high school student group, and decreased with age among women ages 18 to 34.

In the past year, the FDA has proposed a rule that would strengthen the regulation of tanning beds and some states and municipalities have passed or are considering legislation restricting the use of tanning beds by minors.

"Changing the social norms related to tanned skin and attractiveness may also be an effective strategy in reducing indoor tanning,” the authors wrote.

Access the study via subscription or purchase: http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1729532.


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