Tanning bed users say they take the risk for relaxation and beauty

With all the bad news buzzing about how tanning beds can damage your skin and up your risks for deadly melanoma, German researchers are probing not only who is using them but why. The most popular answers? Relaxation and increased attractiveness.

In a new study announced Monday, researchers performed telephone surveys of more than 4,850 people in Germany, with around 40 percent of those participating having used a sunbed and almost 15 percent having used one within the last year. The participants were ages 14 to 45 years old; half were male.

Dr. Sven Schneider and his team from Heidelberg University, in Mannheim, found that compared with men, women were more likely to use tanning beds. In addition, people with darker skin tended to use sunbeds more than those with paler skin. Other high-risk groups included teens, immigrants, and anyone with a job. The study was published in the Archives of Dermatology.

A separate study appearing in the same journal in June found that many young people use tanning beds because they don't feel the risks are particularly outstanding, because "everything causes cancer these days."

A US survey announced this summer and conducted by the American Academy of Dermotology also finds that despite efforts to spread the word on sun damage and soaring skin cancer rates, many young adults still prefer to bask in the sun. The rationale? A tan is more attractive, and "sun exposure is good for your health."

Access the study: http://archderm.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1377952

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