Appearance played important role in female students’ use of self-tanners

Female college students’ appearance schema played a key role in creating their attitudes about sunless tanning product use, according to recent study results.

“The study confirms that targeting appearance-conscious consumers, in particular young women, will be successful, as long as the quality of the tan is promising,” researcher Jeong-Ju Yoo, PhD, assistant professor of family and consumer sciences at Baylor University, said in a press release.

Jay Yoo, PhD 

Jeong-Ju Yoo

Yoo collected data from 182 white female college students (mean age, 19.69 years) by using a self-administered online questionnaire. The survey included 14 appearance schema inventory items and a questionnaire about sunless tanning products. Descriptive statistics and analysis of variances were used to analyze data.

The study reported that using bronzers provided the most positive attitude about the students adopting a tanning product, followed by lotions, creams, sprays, fake tanners (ie, towelettes/moisturizers), gels and pills.

Appearance schema was defined as “core belief or assumptions about the importance, meaning and effects of appearance in one’s life.”

The students’ appearance schema indicated that using bronzer (P<.01), tanning lotion (P<.05) and tanning cream (P<.04) was significant.

“The nature of social and cultural influence — in order to maintain a tanned body — should be the focus of further studies,” Yoo wrote. “Young people consider [sunless tanning] products to be an additional tanning method, rather than a way to reduce their risk for skin cancer. Such future research should provide a more detailed assessment of the social influences (ie, family, friends and romantic partners) on tanning behaviors.”