According to a study reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the use of indoor tanning machines has decreased by a third between 2010 and 2015 overall. While indoor tanning still remains popular, particularly for young non-Hispanic white women, this group has also seen an approximately 30% decline.
“Indoor tanning and sunburns increase the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma,” said Gery Guy, lead author of the study.
Indoor Tanning Habits Decline
The study used data from the annual National Health Interview Survey, a nationally-representative sample of 25 million adults in the United States over 18 years old. In the survey, participants were asked about their indoor tanning habits and any sunburns experienced (both indoor and outdoor), throughout the past year.
The results from the survey found that only 3.5% of participants are indoor tanning machine users, compared to the 5.5% in 2010. Indoor tanning in the adult group of users also dropped from 31.8% to 20.4%.
Base Tan Myth
Results also showed that almost half of sunburns (about 41%) were linked to indoor tanning. This group reported that indoor tanners had at least one sunburn during the year, compared to the 34% of people who did not use tanning beds.
Though indoor tanning is becoming less and less popular, researchers believe the risk of sunburn is higher indoors because of general tan-seeking behavior and the theory that skin can be protected by a "base tan." Contrary to popular belief, this idea of a base tan is untrue and can lead to more harm further on.
For more information on the study, visit Reuters health news (source).