• appearance;
  • skin cancer;
  • skin tone dissatisfaction;
  • sun exposure;
  • tanning


Understanding the factors that contribute to sun exposure is vital for skin cancer prevention. The present study aimed to examine the utility of a new measure for cancer prevention research, the Skin Tone Rating Scale. Australian undergraduate women (N = 156) completed an online questionnaire measuring skin tone dissatisfaction, peer and media norms surrounding tanning, internalisation of a tanned ideal, appearance reasons for tanning, and self-reported tanning behaviour. The two-item Skin Tone Rating Scale provided a short and easy-to-administer measure of skin tone dissatisfaction that correlated with self-reported tanning behaviour. The Skin Tone Rating Scale was also moderately related to appearance reasons for tanning and internalisation of a tanned ideal, demonstrating concurrent validity. Socio-cultural influences (from peers and media) were positively correlated with skin tone dissatisfaction, and this relationship was partially mediated by internalisation of a tanned ideal. Although more research is needed to establish causation, this study provides an important addition to sun tanning literature; it provides a new measure to predict self-reported tanning behaviour, the Skin Tone Rating Scale, which highlights the importance of appearance concerns in relation to tanning and sun exposure.