High-Risk Tanners Are More Likely To Get Their Fix Outside The Salon

06/26/2015 11:08 am ET | Updated Jun 26, 2015
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By: Agata Blaszczak-Boxe
Published: June 24, 2015 10:57am ET on LiveScience.

People who go tanning at gyms or beauty shops may have riskier tanning habits than those who go to tanning salons, new research finds.

In the study, researchers found that the total number of indoor tanning sessions over women's lifetime was twice as high among women who had ever tanned at an indoor nonsalon location than among those who had tanned indoors but only at tanning salons.

Moreover, the women in the study who were tanning at a location other than a tanning salon were more likely to tan all year round than those who went only to tanning salons. They were also more likely to report using indoor tanning to boost their mood, and being addicted to tanning.

"Nonsalon tanning locations also seem to attract more high-risk tanners," such as people who may be depressed or are dependent on tanning, the researchers wrote in the study.

"Despite this evidence, we know little about the supervision, regulation or maintenance of nonsalon tanning locations," they wrote in their findings, published today (June 24) in the journal JAMA Dermatology. [7 Beauty Trends That Are Bad for Your Health]

In the study, researchers led by Joel Hillhouse, a professor of public health at East Tennessee State University, asked 823 women ages 18 to 25 questions about their indoor tanning habits. They asked, for instance, whether, where and how often the women went tanning. The women who tanned at locations other than an actual tanning salon mentioned tanning at places such as gyms, health clubs, beauty shops and private homes.

The researchers wanted to assess how dependent the women were on tanning, so the women in the study were also asked whether they used indoor tanning to boost their mood, and how tough they would find it to stop going indoor tanning.

The researchers found that 41 percent of women who had ever gone indoor tanning, and about 25 percent of women who were currently going tanning, said they had tanned at a location other than a tanning salon.

Among the women who had ever gone indoor tanning, almost 19 percent had tanned at gyms, nearly 14 percent had tanned at beauty shops and about 13 percent had tanned at private homes.

Most of the women who were currently going tanning at a location other than a tanning salon went tanning at a gym. "Some indoor tanning users might seek out gyms to circumvent the federal tanning excise tax, which gyms are not required to collect," the researchers wrote in the study.

Further studies should examine why nonsalon locations are popular with high-risk tanners, according to the study. More research is also needed to look at tanning at private homes, which is not regulated or overseen in any way, the researchers wrote.

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