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Men tend to do fake tan in riskier ways than women

ANI | Updated: Nov 03, 2017 05:30 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov 3 (ANI): A recent study has linked tanning beds and risky behaviour in men.

The University of Connecticut findings should help public health officials rethink how, and to whom, they're targeting anti-tanning messages.

Because the stereotypical tanning salon client is a young woman, almost all the research and health messaging on tanning has focused on that demographic. But the new research found that one in three people who use tanning beds in the U.S. are male.

Men who tan report using tanning beds with about the same frequency as women, but smoke and binge drink at higher rates than their female counterparts, and they also tend to treat tanning more like an addiction than women do, say the authors. A full 49 percent of men who used tanning beds fit a pattern of addictive behavior around tanning.

Lead author Sherry Pagoto said that the finding was really "surprising," adding, "If they tan with the same frequency as women, why would tanning in men be more addictive?"

Pagoto and her colleagues conducted a national survey of 636 people who answered "yes" when asked whether they had ever used a tanning bed. They queried the participants about frequency of use, preferred locations to tan, how they felt about tanning, and why they did it.

The differences between men and women were marked. Women preferred to tan in salons, and said they valued low cost, cleanliness, and convenience.

Men who tanned preferred less regulated settings, such as gyms or private homes. They said they liked to tan to accentuate the appearance of their muscles, or as a reward after working out. They also reported smoking tobacco, binge drinking alcohol, and drinking soda significantly more often than women who tan.

Men also answered "yes" when asked if they ever felt anxious if they weren't able to tan, tanned to relieve stress, or spent money on tanning even when they couldn't afford it. They agreed with statements such as "I'd like to quit but I keep going back to it."

There's a population of men who tan and engage in other risky behaviours and are very unlike the young women that health educators assume are at risk of tanning bed health impacts, noted Pagoto.

The study appears in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (ANI)