Gen Y Women Love Indoor Tanning (Especially In The Midwest And South), CDC Reports

Today, more surprising news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Gen Y women are going indoor tanning almost twice a month on average. It’s especially common among white women, those ages 18-21 and in the Midwest and South.

The CDC’s report on the use of tanning devices (beds, booths or sun lamps) looked at adults of all ages. Overall, about 6% of adults said they had gone indoor tanning in the previous year. For young people (18-25 years old) of both genders, this rose to 12.3%. For women 18-25 alone, it rose to 20%.

The highest prevalence of indoor tanning was found among white women aged 18–21 years (31.8%) and aged 22–25 years (29.6%), particularly among those aged 18–21 years in the Midwest (44.0%), and those aged 22–25 years in the South (36.4%)

Among white women 18-29 who said they tanned, 57.7% reported going at least 10 times in the past 12 months. The average was about 20 sessions per year. For 18-21 year old white women, the average was 27.6 sessions per year, and more than 67% had gone at least 10 times in the past 12 months.

Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, said about the findings: ”I am astounded.”
About 76,000 melanoma cases will be diagnosed in U.S. adults this year, and about 9,200 people are expected to die of the disease, according to the cancer society. The rates for other skin cancers are also rising.

The World Health Organization classified indoor tanning beds as carcinogenic in 2009, after analyzing 20 studies and finding the risk of melanoma rose 75% in people who started indoor tanning before age 30.

“It’s not a question of whether tanning beds cause cancer anymore,” said Dr. Jerry Brewer, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist and researcher. “We’ve been able to prove that.”

The CDC’s reports coincide with the media curiosity that is ‘Tan Mom‘, a “deeply bronzed New Jersey woman” (AP’s description) arrested for possibly her 5-year-old into a tanning booth. It’s a good reminder that while it’s freak shows like these that grab headlines, indoor tanning is remarkably common among American women, and especially young women.

Kristen Wiig as Tan Mom photo from

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    • Lauren L.

      This doesn’t surprise me. In college, when my apartment had a free tanning bed to use, I was going every day! After hearing that there was a link to skin cancer, I switched to the Mystic. Then I found that the spray used to disperse the DHA actually contains lead and arsenic. What a bummer for us pale chicks!

    • Megan

      meh, I’m not surprised at all. My hometown is a desert area in Southern Utah so EVERYONE tans there. Whether it’s in booths, beds, spray or just by chillin by the lake. I still tan to this day, mainly in spring and summer at least 4 days a week. This isn’t news.

    • Rebecca

      I don’t think it’s a bummer at all. Granted, I have to wear sleeves or sun sceen everywhere I go during the summer, but I have never had qualms with my pale skin, especially not enough to ruin it with tanning.