A narrative review of the potential for self-tanning products to substitute for solaria use among people seeking a tanned appearance

Authors

  • Christine L. Paul,

    Corresponding author
    1. Health Behaviour Research Group, Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour, University of Newcastle & Hunter Medical Research Institute, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
    • Correspondence:

      Prof. Christine L. Paul, Ph.D., Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour, School of Medicine & Public Health, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

      Tel: +61 2 40420693

      Fax: +61 24042 0040

      e-mail: Chris.Paul@newcastle.edu.au

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  • Jamie Bryant,

    1. Health Behaviour Research Group, Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour, University of Newcastle & Hunter Medical Research Institute, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Heidi Turon,

    1. Health Behaviour Research Group, Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour, University of Newcastle & Hunter Medical Research Institute, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Irena Brozek,

    1. Cancer Council NSW, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Natasha Noble,

    1. Health Behaviour Research Group, Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour, University of Newcastle & Hunter Medical Research Institute, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Alison Zucca

    1. Health Behaviour Research Group, Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour, University of Newcastle & Hunter Medical Research Institute, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Conflicts of interest:

    None declared.

Summary

Skin cancers including melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers are a high-cost and largely preventable form of cancer. While limiting exposure to solar ultraviolet (UV) light via outdoor activities is a focus of public health efforts, indoor UV exposure via solaria or ‘tanning booths’ has also become a cause for concern. In recent decades the availability of less harmful non-UV self-tanning products such as sprays and lotions has increased. This review explores (i) the available data regarding the prevalence and behavioural factors associated with use of solaria and self-tanning products and (ii) data that may shed light on the likelihood of solaria users substituting self-tanning products as a less harmful alternative to solaria exposure. While there are insufficient data on which to draw a firm conclusion about the potential for substitution, it appears unlikely that most solaria users would readily substitute self-tanning products in place of solaria exposure. Public health advocates may need to consider whether a robust research study of the cost-effectiveness of encouraging substitutional use of self-tanners is desirable, or whether efforts to severely restrict access to solaria may be a better approach.

Ancillary