Researchers at Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IU-Purdue University Indianapolis conducted a survey that indicated female college students, while aware of the risk of getting cancer, continue to tan indoors anyway.
The survey was self-administered, without interference from researchers, to 629 female undergraduate students at IUPUI and IU-Bloomington, according to a press release from the IUPUI News Center. Keming Yang, a Ph.D. student in epidemiology, and Jiali Han, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, analyzed and then jointly published the survey findings.
The female students ranged in age from 18 to 30 years old, and the survey collected data on how these women perceived tanning and, if they had any, what their indoor tanning habits were.
Of those surveyed, 99.4 percent said tanning can cause skin cancer and premature skin aging, yet the prevalence of tanning in the Midwest is the highest in the United States, according to the press release.
While a majority agreed tanning could cause skin problems, 69.1 percent said they would still get a tan regardless of the risk. Eighty-three percent of the women said they felt more attractive, relaxed and pleasant during and after tanning. There is, however, according to the survey, a 25-percent higher chance for someone who tans indoors to have melanoma before the age of 35.
Yang and Han concluded tanning was more common among women who perceived tans as attractive, had family members who tanned or believed it increased vitamin D production, despite knowing the ill effects and possible risks.