Teenage boys reported less use of tanning booths: a little more than 11 percent used a tanning booth at least once and 6.9 percent went to a tanning booth three or more times.
The study also found a higher percentage of indoor tanners among teens from the Midwest and South, from rural areas, and among dieters, as well as among teens reporting recent use of alcohol and tobacco. Information for the study came from a 1996 survey of more than 6,900 teens.
Lead author Catherine A. Demko, Ph.D., a research associate at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland, said, "The popularity of indoor tanning among adolescents has been previously reported, but the extent of its use had not been measured on a large, representative sample of U.S. teens. In conjunction with other studies, these results demonstrate that indoor tanning among white teenagers is significant, with 30 percent to 40 percent of 16- to 18- year-old white females using tanning booths repeatedly."
Demko added, "Repeated exposure to UV rays, such as those absorbed during indoor tanning, can cause skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. The majority of teens do not have an appreciation of the risk of skin cancers, scars from surgeries to try and remove them, mottled pigmentation, and sagging, wrinkled skin. The predominant UV-A component of indoor tanning lights is a major culprit in photoaging because it penetrates the skin layers more deeply and causes oxidative and DNA damage. Prevention messages are under development to emphasize the appearance-related problems of UV overexposure and present alternatives to tanning using UV rays to enhance appearance."
Other authors on the study are Elaine A. Borawski, Ph.D., Sara M. Debanne, Ph.D., Kevin D. Cooper, M.D., and Kurt C. Stange, M.D., Ph.D., all with Case and University Hospitals of Cleveland.