Some Doctors Aren't Wild About Self-Tanner, Prefer You Stay Pale

It seems pretty obvious that unless you're part of a certain subculture that shall remain nameless, you'll be less likley to lay out in the sun or use a tanning bed after you've applied sunless tanning lotion. Of course, researchers needed to conduct a survey to confirm this, and while the results aren't earth shattering the discussion around it is pretty interesting. Apparently some doctors are hesitant to promote self-tanner as a method of reducing skin cancer, not because it's dangerous but because they feel that ideally women shouldn't want to change their skin color.

Reuters reports that a survey of 415 adult women who live on or near the Emory University campus found that 70 percent had tanned in the sun in the past year, about 50 percent had applied sunless tanning products, and 25 percent used tanning beds. Though women who gave themselves a bottle tan are more likely than other women to use other methods too, 40 percent said that the products made them intentionally decrease their time sitting out in the sun or in tanning beds.


Since according to estimates on dangerous melanomas, about 70,000 people were newly diagnosed and 9,000 people died in the past year, you'd think that doctors would be directing their most artificially orange clients to the local drug store to pick up some self-tanner. However, according to Dr. Daniel Sheehan, a dermatologist at Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta who wasn't involved in the Emory study, some dermatologists don't encourage the use of the products because they want patients to give up tanning cold turkey. Sheehan says he disagrees with that approach:

I don't think that standpoint recognizes the reality that people really want a tanned appearance, and many of them are going to get it one way or another ... We're probably better off encouraging people to pursue a safe tan instead of a UV tan.

Aside from the occasional skin rash, sunless tanning products are safe, and Emory researcher Dr. Suephy Chen says she likes to send the message that, "Your natural skin color is where you were born to be, but if you really want to be tan get it out of a bottle." It would be lovely if doctors could convince women to accept their skin tone as it is, but Dr. Sheehan is right that it's unlikely to happen, and right now the top priority is just reducing skin cancer.

Tanning Lotion Users More Likely To Stay Out Of Sun [Reuters]

Image via AISPIX/Shutterstock.

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