The Dangers of GTL: New Study Evaluates Teen Attitudes About Tanning

If you or your teens are anything like the kids on the hit TV show the "Jersey Shore" they start their morning routine with GTL: Gym, Tanning, and Laundry. "Jersey Shore" is hardly the first (or the last) show to feature tanned, toned, bods, but learning about the risks of tanning beds and benefits of sunless tanning can help you or your kids make the right choices when it comes to tanning.

A new study evaluating the use of sunless tanning products in young women reveals that roughly 10% of American teens use sunless tanners to achieve that bronzed glow.

Reseachers gathered data on 1,600 eleven to eighteen year-olds who were asked questions related to their sunless tanning product use in the previous year, including questions about skin type, attitudes and perceptions of sunless tanning, other sun-related behaviors, and demographics.

Over 10% of the teens surveyed said they had used a sunless tanning product during the previous 12 months. A significant number of users were:

    * Female
    * Older adolescents
    * With parents or caregivers who also used sunless tanning products
    * Individuals who had positive beliefs/attitudes towards sunless tanning products

They also found that the usage of these products was linked to more indoor tanning bed use and a higher incidence of sunburn.

So what does that mean? Basically, those who like to look tan are probably more willing to use a variety of means to achieve that look--even if it means resorting to dangerous indoor tanning beds or laying unprotected in the sunlight. It's important to remind teenagers that there are serious health risks posed by these methods of tanning, and that using sunless tanning products is the best way to get the look they want without putting themselves at risk for skin cancer.

To learn more about sunless tanning products and skin cancer risks, contact a dermatologist today.

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