Individuals Who Indoor Tan in Private Homes Face Higher Skin Cancer Risk, Study Suggests

Tanning bed

A recent study found that 7.7% of individuals who indoor tan do so in private homes. Although these tanning beds are convenient and affordable, they increase the risk of skin cancer. A study was conducted and published online by JAMA Dermatology to determine why these individuals continue to use indoor tanning beds.

The Study

Data was collected from a group of adult tanners and analyzed by Sherry L. Pagoto, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, and her coauthors. By examining the demographics of the two groups, and symptoms of tanning addiction based on scores from a tanning behaviour assessment tool, the authors were able to understand the phenomenon. Individuals who endorsed two or more items on the tool were considered positive for tanning addiction.

The Findings

Out of 636 adults who tanned indoors, 26.7% (170) reported having indoor tanning sessions at least once in a private home. Out of 519 adults who used indoor tanning beds within the last year, 44 tanned in a private home most of the time, and the rest primarily tanned in other locations. Out of those 44 recent tanners, 48% tanned at their own home, while 86% tanned at a friend’s or relative’s home, and 7% tanned at their apartment complex.

The most popular reason for tanning at home was the lack of wait times and fees associated with tanning sessions. Those who tanned at home had more indoor tanning sessions within the past year than those who tanned elsewhere. Based on the tanning behaviour assessment tool, those who tanned at home are more likely to surpass the cut-off score of two. Those who owned tanning beds also reported allowing non-family members use it for a fee.

According to the research letter, “Results indicate that most owners of home tanning beds do not have professional inspection performed on their devices. . . Strategies that increase the cost of using these devices may reduce tanning in homes. Home tanners appear to be a small but high-risk group who should be targeted in intervention efforts to prevent skin cancer.”