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Keywords:

  • indoor tanning;
  • melanoma;
  • self-tanning products;
  • skin cancer;
  • solaria

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.