Men who have sex with men in San Francisco who use indoor tanning had misconceptions about skin cancer risks and the utility of base tans, according to researchers in JAMA Dermatology.
The researchers utilized cross-sectional data from the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance survey, which is conducted annually in populations that are high risk for acquiring HIV.
The survey queried 508 men who have sex with men (MSM) about HIV, substance use and questions regarding skin cancer risks from indoor tanning bed use and reported tanning use in the past year.
Those who reported indoor tanning were asked about tanning frequency, reasons for tanning and the utility of tanning beds to get a base tan.
Median age was 38.5 years and 37 men reported indoor tanning in the past 12 months (7.5%; 95% CI, 5.2-9.8).
Knowledge on skin cancer risks associated with indoor tanning did not differ significantly among indoor tanners and non-indoor tanners.
Binge drinking during the past 30 days was higher among indoor tanners, but recreational drug use was not.
Improved attractiveness was reported as the most common reason for indoor tanning.
A traditional tanning bed.
Using a tanning bed to achieve a base tan prior to travel was popular among 56.8% (95% CI, 40.8-72.8) of indoor tanners.
Researchers found 12-month tanning prevalence comparable to MSM in California (7.4%; 95% CI, 4-13.1) and substantially higher than that among heterosexual men (1.5%; 95% CI, 1.1-1.9), according to a previous study.
“Elevated binge-drinking behavior among indoor tanners suggest a correlation between indoor tanning and risky alcohol consumption for MSM, an association previously demonstrated among young women,” Kenneth A. Katz, MD, MSc, MSCE, of the department of dermatology at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco, and colleagues wrote. – by Abigail Sutton
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.