How Spray Tans Could Keep Skin Cancer In The Dark

Those who spend hours in the sun perfecting their golden tans may snicker at orange-faced folks who opt for a tan in a can, but it could be the Oompa Loompas who are making the wiser choices. A study published in the Archives of Dermatology suggests that fake-tanners spend less time in the sun, leading to less exposure to cancer risk-increasing UV rays.

An Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta dermatologist who worked on the research tells Reuters that spray tans beat sunbathing when it comes to skin safety, saying “getting a tan out of a bottle is incredibly safe, whereas getting tanned from tanning beds and lying out is not.”

The researchers’ survey found that 40 percent of women who use spray tans said they had decreased their exposure to the sun and tanning beds. Spray-tanners, however, also leaned toward getting other types of tans.

If you must tan, spraying yourself orange may be the safest way to go. But as a dermatologist quoted in the story notes, those who avoid tanning altogether are the safest of all.

Fake-tan lotion users tend to stay out of sun: study [Reuters]


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  1. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

    Or you could, you know, do without either. Being slightly pale isn’t a death sentence; in fact, it decreases your risk of cancer.

    Personally, I’d rather be my current slightly pasty than look like one of those tools on Jersey Shore, or John “it’s pronounced Bayhner” Boehner.

    • Cat says:

      I pronounce it “Boner”, but I calls ’em as I sees ’em.

    • kobresia says:

      I’ve wondered how it’s even possible to get “bay” out of “Boeh”. I had a disconnect before he became Speaker, thinking that “Bayner” was some other guy, and when I saw the subtitles, I thought it should be pronounced “Boh-ner”…but in light of his recent behavior, I’ve just been calling him “Boner” too.

      Don’t forget Donald Trump in the list of Oompa Loompa tools. He’s the richest tool in the shed!

      • dangermike says:

        OE is a fairly common dipthong in a few germanic languanges. Another famous name it appears in is of Simpsons creator, Matt Groening (spoken gray-ning). The actual mechanics of a dipthong is to basically pronounce both vowells simultaneously or in a sliding manner. A more familiar example would be AE, which is seen much more frequently in modern English. For the OE, consider it like pronouncing the O part with your throat and palette while, at the same time, the E is formed with your lips and tongue.

        That said, I’ve steadfastly called him boner ever since he went bawling all over himself on national TV, despite being genuinely elated that Nancy “We have to pass the bill bill so you can find out what’s in it” Pelosi was being replaced.

    • Solenoid says:

      That’s what a dermatologist will tell you. A (bone) endocrinologist will tell you that some UV radiation is, in fact, necessary for proper calcium and phosphate metabolism. This article should be followed up by a piece about the increasing incidence of rickets in children.

      Also, keep in mind that melanomas are often found in areas that receive minimal sun exposure, e.g. between the toes or in the intergluteal cleft. Basal-cell carcinoma has a very low mortality rate, and squamous-cell carcinoma also has a low rate of metastasis.

      The more you know.

  2. tinmanx says:

    Wait, they need a study for this? Who funds these things? I have a shiny new bridge for sale.

  3. madcatcasey says:

    This is another one of those “Did we really need a study to tell us this?” story.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      And this is another of those commenters that doesn’t get that nothing is truly known unless you research it scientifically.

      • DariusC says:

        We already knew that sun exposure increases the risk of cancer, going up with the length of time exposed. We already know that tanning spray doesn’t cause cancer. We know that people who tan spray don’t need to tan because the spray helps them achieve the effects desired. I agree with your comment, but I think this study should have been a very low priority. One of those things we can study after we figure out the solution to other, more pressing issues.

        • The Porkchop Express says:

          I think the one thing they may have “learned” is that the spray tan people don’t go out in the sun. In Florida (and I’m sure other places) it seems like people get the fake tan before going to the beach so they don’t look like a yankey that washed up on the shore.

          I guess this study found that to not be the case.

  4. bethanyboo says:


    I’m big on self-tanning. It’s so easy and doesn’t make you orange if you know what you’re doing. I can’t fathom why anyone would choose to wrinkle themselves in the sun when self tanners are so easy and great now.

    I highly recommend tan towels. It takes about 1 minute to wipe the product on and a few hours later you have a nice subtle glow. Gradual tanning lotions are pretty much impossible to screw up but a little more work since you have to apply every day. When I want a serious tan, like for a day at the beach, I’ll spring for some tinted foamy self-tanner. That way, I can see exactly where it’s going and it goes on quick. And of course, airbrush and spray tans are really easy and natural, but they’re a lot more expensive than the other options.

    • Rachacha says:

      “And of course, airbrush and spray tans are really easy and natural…”

      No, there is nothing natural about applying spraypaint to one’s body.

      • theduckay says:

        How do you feel about makeup? Or nail polish? Or piercings? (I could go on). None of those are “natural”, and all of them are pretty noticeable. Just curious as to the extent your judgmental attitude extends to…

        As hard as it is to believe, sometimes people do things (like spray tans and crazy eyeshadow) because they find it fun, not because they’re striving for whatever look it is that you or society has arbitrarily deemed as acceptable.

    • Gertie says:

      Doesn’t it seem odd that in order to feel good about yourself, you have to mop your body with wipes that make it orange? It’s usually obvious when a person darkens her skin, even though she thinks it isn’t. A white scalp at the part, very delicate features, clashing hair color, eyebrows that are paler than the skin, a tan that halts at the hairline, darker creases and joints, unevenness…nobody is fooled.

    • theduckay says:

      Well we seem to have a lot of judge-y people in the comments here, don’t we. How about you guys let her and other women do what they like to their appearance if it makes them feel good about themselves, and keep your judgmental attitude to yourselves.

      Anyway…good for you! I personally don’t tan, but I’ve seen spray tans done on others that have looked very nice and natural. There are also self-tanners out there that give you just a slight bronze glow, rather than the full-on orange-ness that a lot of people (especially here) seem to associate with self tanners.

  5. pop top says:

    Both groups are idiots.

  6. mauispiderweb says:

    I used to always want a nice tan. Until my mom, a real sun worshipper, got skin cancer on her nose. That’s ok, sun … I’ll keep my pale skin the way it is — kthxbai!

    • pop top says:

      Your skin is so pretty, so so pretty… :D

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Skin cancer on the nose and ears are pretty scary. Everywhere else, they can take out a chunk of skin/flesh and stitch it back up. I can’t imagine it would be much fun having a crater of flesh taken off of one’s nose or ears.

  7. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I really regret all of the time I spent in the sun when I was younger. When I was a kid, my pediatrician actually recommended getting a bad sunburn in order to deal with acne. I also never wore sunscreen (nobody did back then). Between my childhood, spending so much time outside in the Army, and having a career that involves a lot of fieldwork, skin cancer is pretty much inevitable.

    I used to work with a guy who had a mole on his face for as long as I knew him. It turned out to be cancer and had spread to the lymph nodes in his neck and armpits. He’s lucky to be alive and has one long scar going from his ear, down to his armpit and back up the other side of his neck.

    That was really a kick in my butt to get tested about five years ago and to get screenings each subsequent year. I think I’ve spent on average of $2,000 each year on screenings, getting suspicious moles probed/tested, and the bad ones removed. If I could go back in time, I would have been a lot more careful.

  8. LightningUsagi says:

    Having an Irish and Welsh ancestory, I’m really pale naturally and burn very fast. For years, my mom would preach to me about how I needed to get a base tan so I wouldn’t burn, so I finally gave in and went to the tanning bed. After 10 minutes, I could feel myself burning, so I got out. By the time I got home, you could see the outline of the little goggles on my red face. My mom never said anything to me about tanning again.

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      My mom (for reasons unknown to me) has somehow convinced herself that using a tanning bed is healthy, and that I should do it as well. She even owns one in her home. Her husband uses it so much that he’s perminantly dark orange.

      I’m white, and I like it that way. I don’t understand why I should artifically darken my skin. I get plenty of Vit. D, thanks.

      She knows my dad had/has skin cancer and that it’s a very serious thing, but she still pressures me about tanning anyway. I just don’t get it.

      I’m glad your mom has decided to lay off. I hope mine does too soon.

  9. Geekybiker says:

    I’m practically translucent. I must be super healthy!

  10. One-Eyed Jack says:

    I lol’d at the picture.

  11. The Twilight Clone says:

    How can something be “incredibly” safe? Either it’s safe or it isn’t.

  12. JonBoy470 says:

    Isn’t that the whole point of spray tans? You know, to look “tanned” without going out in the sun?