Poll Demonstrates Nationwide Idolization of Tans

A new survey by the American Academy of Dermatology found that individuals across the nation still idolize the bronzed-skin look of a tan, despite their concerns and desire to protect themselves from skin cancer.

The online survey titled, “Suntelligence: How Sun Smart is Your City?” was conducted to determine the general knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding skin care and protection against UV rays. The survey polled more than 7,000 adults across the nation. The states were also ranked based on the answers of the poll participants.

“Our survey highlighted the contradictory feelings that many people have about tanning - they like the way a tan looks but are concerned about skin cancer, which is estimated to affect about one in five Americans in their lifetime," said dermatologist Zoe D. Draelos, MD, FAAD, consulting professor at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C., in a press release. "What they may not realize is that no matter whether you tan or burn, a tan from the sun or tanning beds damages the skin and can cause wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer. The challenge is changing the long-standing attitudes about tanning to correlate with people's knowledge about skin cancer."

The results indicated that 72% of the respondents answered that they felt people looked more attractive with a tan. Additionally, more men than women agreed with that statement. Sixty-six percent of the respondents also said they felt people looked healthier with a tan. Again, more men than women agreed with the statement.

In terms of sun exposure and health, 60 percent of the participants said they believed that sun exposure was good for your health. More men with women mistakenly believed this.

"Various reports touting the potential health benefits of sun exposure for vitamin D production are misleading people to believe that exposing oneself to UV radiation - which causes cancer - to prevent another disease is somehow beneficial," said Dr. Draelos, in a press release. "In fact, the Academy does not recommend getting vitamin D from any form of UV exposure because UV radiation from the sun and tanning beds can lead to the development of skin cancer. Getting vitamin D from a healthy diet, which includes naturally enriched vitamin D foods, fortified foods and beverages, and/or vitamin supplements, is a healthier alternative because it provides the exact same benefit without the skin cancer risk."

While the participants expressed an appreciation for the tan-look, they responded that they had a strong interest in protecting themselves from skin cancer. The data showed that 80% of respondents expressed concern about skin cancer and felt it was important to take steps to protect themselves.

A new survey by the American Academy of Dermatology found that individuals across the nation still idolize the bronzed-skin look of a tan, despite their concerns and desire to protect themselves from skin cancer.