Indoor Tanning, Skin Cancer and the Young Female Patient: A Review of the Literature

J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2015 Aug;28(4):275-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jpag.2014.07.015. Epub 2014 Aug 19.


Young, non-Hispanic white females represent the population most likely to use indoor tanning facilities. This population may be at increased risk of skin cancer as recent meta-analyses support a strong association between cutaneous malignancy and indoor tanning. Public perception of the purported health benefits of indoor tanning may be partially to blame for the popularity of tanning salons as a desire to prepare skin prior to sun exposure is among the most commonly cited motivations for indoor tanning. Improving education and counseling to address misconceptions regarding tanning safety will require the participation of healthcare providers for both physical and psychological screenings as well as for information dissemination. This review presents the association between tanning bed use and skin cancer, biological effects of UV radiation exposure, UV burden associated with tanning devices, public perception of tanning, demographic and psychological profile of indoor tanners, and current legislation regulating tanning bed use.

Keywords: Indoor tanning; melanoma; patient education; skin cancer; tanning legislation; ultraviolet radiation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Sunbathing*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult