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Bottled Tan May Keep Women Out of the Sun
Date:12/19/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Young women who get their tan out of a bottle may spend less time sunbathing or using tanning beds, two riskier behaviors, according to a new study.

Using a sunless tanning product is a safe alternative to ultraviolet radiation (UV) exposure, which is linked to skin cancer and premature aging, the researchers said. They found that women who used tanning products most often reduced their overall UV-tanning time.

With a bottled tan, "there is no DNA damage," said lead author Dr. Suephy Chen, an associate professor of dermatology at Emory University in Atlanta. "The product adheres to the top layer of the skin that sheds anyway."

Although some dermatologists believe promoting pale skin is a better way to reduce the risk of skin cancer, Chen disagrees with that approach.

Getting people to stop tanning is really hard, Chen said. "There are a lot of societal pressures, and it has been going on for decades, so why not provide a safer way to achieve the same appearance," she said.

The report was published in the Dec. 19 online edition of the Archives of Dermatology.

For the study, Chen's team surveyed more than 400 women, age 18 and older, about their use of sunless tanning products and their tanning habits.

Almost 50 percent said they had used sunless tanning products at least once in the last year. Most had used self-applied products, with 9 percent saying they got a professionally applied spray tan. The products were used by women of all ages, the researchers noted.

More than 70 percent said they had tanned in the sun in the past year, 26 percent said they had used a tanning bed and about one-quarter said they did both, Chen's group found.

However, among those who used tanning products and tanned in the sun, about 37 percent said they had reduced their sun time. Among women who used both t
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