Background: Despite strong evidence that sun exposure causes skin cancer, a significant proportion of the population continues to purposefully tan. Many individuals deliberately tan because they believe a tanned complexion makes them appear more attractive.
Objective: To measure the effect that a tanned complexion has on the public's perception of attractiveness.
Materials and methods: Forty-five women aged 21 to 35 were recruited. A digital photograph was taken of each subject. Each image was uploaded onto a public website until it had been rated at least 100 times on a scale from 1 to 10. An average baseline, or untanned, rating of the image was calculated. The image was then given an artificial tan using a skin tanning protocol available for Adobe Photoshop. The tanned image was then re-uploaded onto the website and another average rating was calculated using the same criteria.
Results: The mean score±standard deviation was 6.3±2.3 for the untanned images and 6.5±2.3 for the tanned images (p<.001).
Conclusions: The population who logged onto the website considers tanned people to be more attractive.
© 2010 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc.