White American teenage girls are more likely to use indoor tanning booths than boys and to use them more frequently, says a Case Western Reserve University study.
The study found nearly 37 percent of white teenage girls have used an indoor tanning facility at least once, and nearly 30 percent of them reported using a tanning booth three or more times.
The percentage of girls using tanning booths increased with age. The rate was 11.2 per cent of 13- to 14-year-olds and 47 percent for girls aged 18 to 19. Teen girls who tanned easily were more likely to use tanning booths than girls who tanned poorly. Girls who did routine physical activity were less likely to use tanning booths.
Among teenage boys, just over 11 percent reported using a tanning booth at least once and 6.9 percent said they'd been to a tanning booth three or more times.
The study also found a higher percentage of indoor tanners among teens living in the Midwest and South, those from rural areas, dieters and teens who reported recent use of alcohol and tobacco.
Information for the study was collected from a 1996 survey of more than 6,900 teenagers. The study appears in the September issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
"Repeated exposure to UV rays, such as those absorbed during indoor tanning, can cause skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. The majority of teens do not have an appreciation of the risk of skin cancers, scars from surgeries to try and remove them, mottled pigmentation and sagging, wrinkled skin," study author Catherine A. Demko, research associate at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western, says in a news release.
"The predominant UV-A component of indoor tanning lights is a major culprit in photoaging because it penetrates the skin layers more deeply and causes oxidative and DNA damage. Prevention messages are under development to emphasize the appearance-related problems of UV overexposure and present alternatives to tanning using UV rays to enhance appearance," Demko says.