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Keywords:

  • indoor tanning;
  • sunbeds;
  • ultraviolet radiation

Background/aims: We examined the prevalence of indoor tanning in North Rhine-Westphalia and identified correlates of sunbed use.

Methods: During regular skin cancer screening campaigns 1242 subjects completed and returned a structured questionnaire on constitutional parameters and indoor tanning habits.

Results: The regular sunbed user rate (more than 10 exposures/year) was 15.4% (191/1242). Most sunbed users were under 29 years of age. The number of female sunbed users was greater than the number of male users. Respondents with secondary modern school qualification used sunbeds more infrequently than respondents with junior high school and high school qualifications. Respondents with skin type III and IV used sunbeds more frequently. Tanning and preparation for sunny holidays were the main reasons for sunbed use. The most frequently reported positive effects experienced by means of sunbed use were improved appearance and relaxation. Most respondents indicated that they hardly or never had sunburns following indoor tanning. Almost half of respondents consider radiation generated by sunbeds somewhat dangerous.

Conclusions: Use of indoor tanning in North Rhine-Westphalia has increased and is significantly associated with female gender, younger age, high-level education, and skin type III and IV. The motivation for sunbed use and benefits experienced are mainly based on the perception of improved appearance due to tan and increased sense of well-being.