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Many College Women Ignore Indoor Tanning's Risks

FRIDAY, Jan. 13, 2017 -- Despite the known dangers, many white female college students continue to tan indoors, a new study finds.

Indoor tanning can lead to premature skin aging and skin cancers, including potentially deadly melanoma. It's particularly risky for younger people and frequent users, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For this study, researchers at Indiana University surveyed 629 white female undergraduate and graduate students.

Just about all of the young women knew that tanning can cause premature skin aging and skin cancer. Moreover, almost 80 percent did not believe that indoor tanning is safe or any safer than outdoor tanning.

Still, about seven out of 10 said they like to get a tan even though they know tanning may harm their skin. Nearly 84 percent said tanning makes them feel more attractive.

Those more likely to use tanning booths or sunlamps had relatives or friends who used tanning devices, tanned easily and considered tans attractive. They still wanted a tan, despite knowing the potential harm.

The study was published recently in the Journal of Dermatological Science.

Previous research shows that compared to those who never tanned indoors, people who ever used indoor tanning had a 25 percent higher risk of melanoma. And, those who first used indoor tanning before age 35 had an 87 percent increased risk of melanoma.

Keming Yang, a Ph.D. student in epidemiology, was first author of the paper, while Jiali Han, chair of the department of epidemiology at Indiana University, was senior author.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on indoor tanning.

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Posted: January 2017