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Abstract

Background  Exposure to solar and artificial ultraviolet (UV) radiations is a major risk factor for skin cancers. France has enacted one of the strictest laws that, notably, restrict tanning-bed access to adults ≥18 years old.

Objective  We evaluated artificial tanning behaviours of French teenagers (11–17 years old): sunless-tanning products, sunlamps and artificial tanning beds.

Methods  An anonymous questionnaire evaluating sunburn history, skin phototype, behaviours with sunless-tanning products and indoor tanning, and parents’ behaviours was distributed to students enrolled in two middle and high schools in Antony, a typical city of the middle class French population, located in the Paris suburbs.

Results  Among 713 teenagers (mean age: 13.5 years: male/female: 1.1) responding, more than half declared that it was important to be tanned during the summer, 1% reported having already used tanning pills, 9.9% tanning creams and 1.4% indoor tanning. Female teenagers significantly more frequently resorted to indoor tanning (P = 0.02), cited the importance of being tanned all year long (P < 0.0001), used tanning pills (P < 0.0001) or tanning creams (P < 0.006), and their parents relied on indoor tanning (P < 0.0001). Profiles of tanning-pill and -cream users were similar. Mean ages for the two groups were comparable.

Conclusion  French regulations for indoor tanning seem quite effective. Our analyses revealed a typical teenager profile with sun-exposure risk behaviours, for example, indoor tanning, and use of tanning pills or creams. They could be a selective target for sun-protection information campaigns.