New CDC Study Reveals A Third Of Young White Adult Women Get Tans Indoors

Someone pass me the aloe — I’m feeling burned just reading about the results of a new study by the Centers for Disease Control. Not only have half of adults under 30 had a sunburn in the last year, but about a third of white women between 18 and 21 admits to going tanning 20 times on average in a year.

The Associated Press looks at the CDC’s findings, which used numbers from a 2010 survey of adults between 18 and 29. The fact that so many people got sunburned shows that we’re regressing in our skin care, and aren’t scared off by warnings of skin cancer. In 2005, 45% of people reported at least one sunburn, which had been progress from 50% in the 2000 study.

“I don’t know that we’re making any headway,” said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the American Cancer Society’s deputy chief medical officer. Researchers add that more people are reporting using sunscreen, but perhaps they’re not putting enough on or doing an adequate job of covering their bodies.

Beyond that data, the CDC also found that women in their 20s are going to tanning salons almost twice a month on average. Their survey on the use of tanning beds, booths or sun lamps is a bit shocking –Â while 6% of adults overall admitted to going tanning indoors in the previous year, among young white women ages 18 to 21, the rate was 32%. That’s up 5% from the 2010 survey.

Proponents of the indoor tanning industry don’t want their business to be linked to skin cancer, even though tanning devices have been classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization.

“Saying categorically that (ultraviolet light) exposure is harmful and should be avoided is like saying that water causes drowning, and therefore we should avoid water. It’s a totally misleading oversimplification,” said Joseph Levy, executive director of International Smart Tan Network.

Let’s hope that anyone who’s seen that super tan lady in the news recently might be put off the tanning bed from now on.

CDC: Young adults ignoring skin-cancer warnings [The Associated Press]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Blueskylaw says:

    “New CDC Study Reveals A Third Of Young White Adult Women Get Tans Indoors”

    A new study also shows that a third of young white adult women eat Snackwell
    cookies 20 times a year because they are fat free and therefore healthy for you.

  2. sirwired says:

    I’ll admit to getting a sunburn in the last year, but what white guy doesn’t? An occasional accidental “pinking” of my skin is not a recipe for certain doom.

    Yes, I’ll grant that getting a horrible painful peeling mess might be a significant event, but not a “oh I reckon I got a little sun today” kind of burn.

    The CDC should have asked how many people got a severe sunburn (i.e. heavy peeling, pain lasting more than a day, whatever…) If those numbers are trending downwards, I’d say that’s progress.

    • wade says:

      Nope. Certain doom. Don’t even bother making vacation plans. You’ll never make it that long.

    • dks64 says:

      Yeah, they’re being dramatic about the sunburns. It can happen so easy for someone with fair skin. If I stand out in the sun too long at Disneyland or even if I just stand out in the sun too long while talking to a friend, I can burn. Once a year is not too bad.

      • orion70 says:

        It can happen that much easier too if you happen to be taking certain kinds of medication or as I found last summer, after chemo.

        • LMA says:

          Yup, medications have been a problem for me as well. Even tho’ I slather on the recommended amount of sunscreen, it’s amazing how many prescription drugs, from chemo/arthritis stuff like Methotrexate, to most antidepressants, amp up sun damage.

          One important tip I have to pass along to everyone reading — my Mom just had skin cancer on her *lower eye lid* and it turns out that’s very common — most people don’t wear sunglasses any more regularly than sunscreen, and even if you wear glasses, if they aren’t close-fitting enough to your face, sunlight can easily sneak in from above!

    • DanC922 says:

      Did you know that a single serious burn can cause the deadliest form of skin cancer? And merely 5 lesser burns can cause cancer? Two skin cancer types are known to be caused by an accumulation of sun exposure over time.

      Being tan is socially “beautiful” now, but at the least, your tan now is likely to dramatically increase wrinkles later, and if history is any indication, tan may be out and pale will be “beautiful” a generation from now.

      Just be comfortable with the skin you have, and don’t let society tell you to change your appearance to fit the current trend.

      • The Porkchop Express says:

        I think he mentioned that. He said he got a pinking, not a peeling painful burn.

    • Libertas says:

      In that case I should have died of cancer 30 years ago at the age of 5.

  3. Kat says:

    I like using the tanning booth at the gym. They have rules that limit excessive tanning and the employees have always given me good advice on what level sunscreen I should be using to avoid burning. The worst burn I ever got was from trying to tan on my own.

    • Floobtronics says:

      Why do you feel you’re not good enough the way God made you? I’ve never understood the desire to bake yourself in an oven and turn yourself into an oompa loompa…

      • axolotl says:

        Free leather.

      • Kat says:

        Why do you think I look like/want to look like an oompa loompa? I’m actually so fair skinned that it used to be difficult to find a concealer when I needed it. If I could be consistently white I wouldn’t mind, but I have an obvious farmer’s tan from always wearing t-shirts. It makes me feel uncomfortable when I choose to wear something else. That and the reflection of light off my white legs has been known to blind. ;)

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        God made me after losing a bet. D:

    • ash says:

      The employees don’t know crap. Not burning doesn’t mean you’re not getting harmful UV rays.

    • Jawaka says:

      I never got a burn from an X-Ray either. Should I get them weekly as well?

    • Not Given says:

      UVA gives you wrinkles and skin cancer, UVB is the one that burns you. Not all sunscreens protect you from both. Look for one that says UVA/UVB or broad spectrum coverage.

  4. axolotl says:

    God forbid anyone would keep their skin color the way it was when they were born.
    Honestly.. where are all the white women at?

    • Blueskylaw says:

      I loved that movie.

    • Sarahlara says:

      I’m so pale you can see my internal organs but it’s never crossed my mind to try to get a tan. I just don’t give a darn, plus I’ve seen a lot of very leathery women who still tan, even seeing the damage on their skin.

      • BennieHannah says:

        I’m a super pale too. I wish I had a darker skin tone, the same way I wish my legs were three inches longer and my tits a cup size larger. But you get what you get. I’m not wanting to kill myself or age myself just so that I feel better about wearing shorts with my pale legs. Last time I was out to a restaurant with my son — in his mid-twenties — I got carded and he did not. I’m frequently carded in the grocery store, under fluorescent lights. As the years go by I’m soooo glad I’ve taken care of my skin and protected it. At our last reunion, the sun worshipers were beginning to look like saddle leather. But maybe they thought I looked ghostly. A youthful ghost.

        • Torgonius wants an edit button says:

          I’m so white I burn under a new moon.

          Worst burn I ever had was when I was young and stupid and decided to ski on Mount Hood one 4th of July many, many years ago. 75 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. I wore shorts, a T-shirt and a baseball cap. I even put SPF 2 billion sunblock on in the morning.

          Apparently, that wore off, because that afternoon, I was bright, flaming red and it hurt. And having to strap on hockey gear that night was one of the most painful things I’ve ever done.

          6 months later, you could still see the line on my calves where the boot ended.

        • RayanneGraff says:

          I’ve seen recent pics of some of my sun-loving friends from high school & it’s shocking. One girl in particular who used to just BAKE herself in tanning beds has more wrinkles now than my 60 y/o mother :O

        • Libertas says:

          Yeah I wish you had all that stuff too….

          Yeah that would be awesome….


          So what’s this article about?

    • Snaptastic says:

      I don’t like tan lines, burns, or anything else associated with the sun’s effects on my skin. I am probably regarded as a vampire in my neighborhood because I am usually toting a parasol or wide-brim hat when gardening–and I only walk my dog after the sun sets.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      I’m super pale. Well, my arms have a very slight driver’s tan & I don’t put on sunscreen just to go get the mail or anything(SOME sun is good for you, vitamin D & such), but I don’t go out of my way to get a tan either. My friends are always like, “You need a tan, girl!” and I’m like, “…why?”. I’ve considered going tanning just cause I’m not particularly fond of my transparent leg skin, but that’s what they make self-tanner for. My not tanning is the reason why at age 31, my skin looks no different than it did when I was in high school. I don’t look a day over 18. No wrinkles whatsoever.

      • alana0j says:

        To counter your statement (forgive me!) I am of Scottish descent so I’ve always been crazy pale. I did let it get to me so I decided to start tanning, although not in excess. I have a medium-light tan (does that make sense) and I go maybe twice a month to maintain. I also have crazy youthful skin and at age 26, I have people who guess my age to be 21. Taking care of yourself and NOT overdoing it to the point of being freaking orange helps.

        That said, I do know that the UV rays are not healthy. Just saying that not all people who fake-bake are leathery

        • JennQPublic says:

          Spray-tanning at home is easy, inexpensive, and doesn’t cause your skin to age. No matter how youthful you look at 26, I promise by 50 you will wish you’d spent less time tanning.

          Exfoliate first, lotion after, be sure to wash your hands, and hang out naked for 15 minutes when you’re done to avoid lines. Neutrogena makes a good one.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          Wait until you’re 40. 26 is too young to make the determination as to whether or not your skin is damaged from it.And I really can’t tell the difference between a 26 and 21 year-old. It’s 5 years. It’s not like you’re 50 and people think you’re 30.

      • GadgetsAlwaysFit says:

        Ditto. I was carded for nearly 2 decades after I turned legal. People never, ever correctly guess my age. I usually have to tell them to at least get a little respect on the job. I haven’t gotten a tan in 30 years. People used to ask me what is my secret. You would think looking at my pale skin it would be obvious but no, I have to say it. I don’t go out in the sun. Additionally, always wear adequate eye protection anytime you are out and about. That exposure is the single greatest contributor to cataracts.

        • LMA says:

          Same story here. I’m close to 50 now but I am consistently mistaken by coworkers, hair stylists, etc. for my early 30s — to the point where people respond with “no, no way, you’re kidding, right?” when I tell them I’m 48. I firmly believe that beyond genetics, there are two very simple things women can do to stay looking young, *and* save money. Never, ever, ever wear “foundation,” go lightly on the rest of your make up (all that powder dries your skin, and all the make-up remover likewise), and avoid tanning whether from the sun or a machine.

      • msbask says:

        At one of my high school reunions, some jerk (who used to beat his pretty-tanned girlfriend) walked up to me and said, “Wow! Every hear of the sun? You’re pretty pasty”.

        I took it as a compliment that this pig didn’t find me attractive. Been loving my whiter-than-white skin every since.

    • Jawaka says:

      They’ve all gone to Jersey Shore.

    • kursk says:

      The way a dancer described it to me was this: “Tan flab looks better than pasty muscle.” That does go on to explain why bodybuilders go to the super extreme when it comes to coloring their skin for competitions.

    • dks64 says:

      Here’s one! I’m so fair I’m clear.

  5. bhr says:

    I knew way to many gals when I was younger that got “base tans” on a regular basis. Whenever they got too pale they hit the booth for a session before heading on vacation/beach/outdoor activities so they didn’t burn. I don’t know if the science on that backs up the thought process.

    As an aside, my gym installed tanning booths a while back and while I am so far from vain about my looks it’s not funny I do like to do a quick session when I get especially translucent.

    • MajorGroove says:

      Alas, the science does not back it up. UV damage is cumulative and is harmful no matter how you get it. UV damage over the years actually causes most of the discoloration and wrinkling of old skin, not age itself. Sunscreen is much better to help prevent sunburn.

  6. Herah says:

    This is what we get when kids idolize the fake tanned morons on Jersey Shore.

    • gman863 says:

      If a 12-step tanning support group was ever formed, would it be called “Friends of Snookie?”

  7. MaytagRepairman says:

    In Seattle it seems the white women get tattoos instead of tans.

    • axolotl says:

      Now I want a farmer’s tan tattoo

    • DrunkenMessiah says:

      Denver seems much the same way. I love it. I’ve also yet to hear of any links between tats and skin cancer. If you want to darken your skin ladies, do it with ink!

  8. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    “Saying categorically that (ultraviolet light) exposure is harmful and should be avoided is like saying that water causes drowning, and therefore we should avoid water. It’s a totally misleading oversimplification”

    …no, no it’s not. Making a moronic comparison to a stupid statement like “water causes drowning” is an intentionally misleading lie meant to distract the less-intellectually-capable from the fact that your tanning booths cause cancer.

  9. dush says:

    Shouldn’t be calling them white women.

  10. brinks says:

    You might look hot in your twenties with a fake tan, but wait until you see how haggard you look in your mid-thirties. Trust me on this. My orange-faced friends are losing their battle with age, but my pale ass looks quite a bit younger than they do now. You’ll pay for that ridiculous vanity later, and it will really kill you (because, you know, you’re so vain).

    • crispyduck13 says:

      This all the way, except they didn’t even look good back in the day. I went to a 97% caucasion high school, class of 01. ALL those girls went tanning regularly, at least half of the female population was an odd shade of orange most of the year. To put it lightly, those girls have not aged well.

  11. GirlWithGloves says:

    All it took for me was one mole excision and that was it for unprotected skin and sun exposure. I already know what it feels like to very nearly die, so when that cancer risk showed up, I paid attention and started researching the options available for reducing my risk. Think about all of the exposure you get just by getting in the car, running errands, taking the dog for a walk; it adds up. It’s funny how as in my childhood of the 80’s in Southern California, we would put on sunscreen for going to the beach or to the pool, but not for playing outside everyday. Now I put sunscreen on everyday! Elta MD makes fantastic mineral (translucent zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) sunscreens.

    Women are always thinking of SPF protection for the face, but don’t forget the neck (all around and just below), your ears, chest, shoulders, arms and hands. Also, Columbia and Coolibar make great clothing and hats with UPF built right in! To put protection into your clothing, there is a powder laundry add-in product called Sun Guard by Rit Dye. It won’t harm or damage your clothes and provides a UPF of approx. 30 for at least 20 washes. They’ve also discovered that topical application of caffeine can reduce skin cancer risk in mice, so hopefully one day soon, such a topical solution will be available for us humans to fight and reduce the risk!

  12. AndroidHumanoid says:

    I guess Obama’s 10% tax didn’t do anything to discourage people from using tanning beds. I’ve gone a few times since it was implemented, and the salons always throw in a few free tans or an upgrade, and a bottle of tanning lotion to offset the tax.

    • JJFIII says:

      Since the tax did not start until July 1, 2010 you can not say whether it has helped reduce usage or not. ” used numbers from a 2010 survey of adults between 18 and 29″

  13. kimmie says:

    Here’s the thing – my doc keeps telling me to wear LESS sunscreen because my vitD is chronically low. I don’t go out of my way to tan, in fact, I drive a convertible. I asked her about the cancer risk and she said basically everything will give us cancer and we need to find a balance. I don’t know if she was being down to earth, or crazy.

  14. Jemaine says:

    Sad but true, when I went tanning, it was because my mom went. My mom has one of the darkest, but decent tans I’ve ever seen, unlike the tanarexic lady. I quit going because it was a waste of money, but I never got burned… they do make lotions that will make your body tingle though.

  15. retailriter says:

    I don’t get the tanning thing. I thought that went out of “style” with the seventies along with tube socks.

    As with the effects of smoking, something that seems “glamorous” or sexy when your young, can sure make you look like an old hag in your older years.

  16. Kuri says:

    Eh, I don’t get tanning and most likely never will.

    Still, some of what I’m reading makes me feel good about wearing my wide brimmed cowboy hat.

  17. hush404 says:

    lol, I thought this article was going to tell of how white chicks get tanned in normal house hold conditions. :P Most girls I know tan. It’s a common thing, the article says they don’t know why people don’t get that it’s dangerous, but really, you must of failed big time because it’s such a common place thing now, there are SO many businesses offering the service, there’s little to no concern for health in it at all.

  18. dks64 says:

    No tanning for me, I get my Vitamin D from supplements! Too risky with my fair skin. And yes, I’m really Vit D deficient, my blood work showed my level at 19, it should have been 30-100. The sun can be dangerous to us white folks.

  19. CalicoGal says:

    I embrace my Caucasian-ness!
    I wear wide-brimmed hats and stay out of the sun. (I take 2000IU Vit D/day). At outdoor events, I head right for the shade.

    Once the skin is tan, the damage has been done.

    You don’t want a visit from Mr. Mel E. Noma!!!

  20. Dagny Taggart says:

    I have a fair complexion, and all I needed to do to see the effects of tanning was to look at my neck. The upper part, which gets shaded by my chin when I am out in the sun, looks pretty good. The rest is dried out and freckly.

  21. Extended-Warranty says:

    these girls have more problems than cancer risks, they have severe psychological problems. orange gator skin is not normal physically or mentally

  22. Slader says:

    Because the CDC is not above lying for political purposes, I will take this, and everything they say, with a large grain of salt.

  23. orion70 says:

    I admit a few years ago I went to several tanning sessions. Once was for a summer wedding, and another time was because I just generally wanted a little color for my ultra-pale self and a winter pick-me-up. Stupidly at the time I also thought it’d help me avoid the major burns I have gotten a couple of times over the past couple of years. I got a couple of chuckles from people when I told them I’d actually been for several sessions because I was still so pale.

    I realized it wasn’t worth the effort when I started to faint in one of them during a session.

  24. RiverStyX says:

    Women stupid enough to pay for something that’s free as soon as you step outside.

  25. Sean says:

    Nothing like Fake ‘n Bake to make you look like what some people think is beautiful.

  26. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    burn, baby burn.

  27. SmokeyBacon says:

    I am anti-tan for myself – I avoid the sun and use sunscreen if I will be out for an extended time (anything more than walking to the car). I used to tan outside when I was younger (ini my teens I stopped) but now there is no way – after seeing what a friend went through a few years ago (so she was probably 35 at that time) with stage 4 melanoma that almost killed her, I decided that I had made the right decision. I just isn’t worth the risk to me, but if others want to take that risk I am not going try to stop them, because they won’t listen anyway.

  28. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    A friend of mine got a little black dot on his back. He was dead within a month. It’s not one of those cancers you can let your HMO jerk you around on. Aside from paying for sunshine, the health risks are … well, risky.

    Recently discovered that some of the sunblock lotions on the market are completely ineffective.