The stereotypical tanning bed user may be female, but men use tanning beds too, and a new study shows that they do it in riskier ways.
The study coming out of the University of Connecticut found that one in three people who use tanning beds are male, even though almost all research and preventative messaging on the potentially dangerous product has focused on women.
Men who tan also tend to use beds at about as much as women, but engage in other risky behaviours, including smoking and binge drinking way more than women. Also, half of the men that use tanning beds fit a pattern of addictive behaviour around tanning.
Many of the men surveyed said they felt anxious if they weren’t able to tan, tanned to relieve stress, or spent money on tanning when they couldn’t afford it — all signs of addictive behaviour. They also agreed with statements like “I’d like to quit, but I keep going back to it.”
This new data shows that there is a whole other demographic that is both using tanning beds and engaging in other risky behaviours that is often left out when it comes to targeted advertising on the dangers of tanning.
Researchers hope this information will help public health officials more effectively warn consumers about the dangers of tanning.
Sun lamps and tanning beds are currently legal all across the United States, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified them as a class 1 carcinogen, the same as tobacco smoke, alcoholic beverages, and asbestos.