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Use of Sunless Tanners Associated with Sunburns

Patients who use artificial tanning products are more likely to report sunburns, tanning bed use

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults who use sunless tanning products may be more, rather than less, likely to experience sunburns and/or use artificial tanning beds, according to a study in the June issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Alan Geller, M.P.H., R.N., of the Boston University School of Medicine in Boston, and colleagues conducted a 2004 survey of 448 adults aged 18 to 30 in Boston shops, universities and parks. Twenty-two percent said they had used sunless tanning lotions in the past year and another 22 percent said they would consider doing so in the coming year.

Participants who used sunless tanners were more likely to be female, younger and have a history of severe burns, the study showed. Users and potential users of sunless tanning products were more likely to have sunburned during the summer and to have used tanning beds than those who neither used nor intended to use such products even after researchers controlled for skin type.

The researchers speculate that sunless tanning product users may try to accentuate their artificial tans or may be unaware that the products provide little to no sun protection. "Dermatologists and public health officials should continue to emphasize the importance of using sunscreen with an adequate sun protection factor (SPF) and exercising other sun protective measures," they conclude.

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