Sunless tanning is often promoted as the best way to achieve a “bronze glow” without the damage from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. However, a recent study says that if products don’t provide the perfect tan, young women likely will not use them.
The Baylor University study, published in the current issue of Household and Personal Care Today, was conducted on approximately 200 Caucasian female college students and found that appearance was the primary motivation for getting a tan.
Participants were given a questionnaire with 14 statements about appearance. They were asked to answer them on a five-point scale ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” Those who strongly agreed with statements such as "I should do whatever I can to always look my best" were more likely to use all of the sunless tanning items mentioned in the study, according to Jay Yoo, Ph.D., an assistant professor of family and consumer sciences in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences.
"The feeling is 'I tan, I feel good, I'll look good tomorrow… What's health?'" Yoo said. "The study confirms that targeting appearance-conscious consumers, in particular young women, will be successful as long as the quality of the tan is promising. Women ages 19 to 22 aren’t worried about wrinkles and premature aging.”
Young women in particular, who are more frequent users of sunless tanning creams, gels and lotions, see sunless tanning as a complement to UV tanning. Yoo said manufacturers should promote sunless tanners as a substitute for UV tanning, rather than just a complement.
Participants’ attitudes toward bronzers (powders and moisturizers) was most positive, followed by tanning lotions, creams, sprays, toilettes, gels and pills. Women were less likely to use sunless tanning products if they thought the product caused streakiness or an unnatural look or color.
The study also revealed that young women are not concerned about skin cancer unless they experience it personally or on a family member or someone else they know, Yoo said.
Sunless tanning products can provide a safe alternative to UV tanning. However, keep in mind: sunless tanners don’t provide protection from UV rays. Even if you have sunless tanner on, sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 should still be used if you are going to be out in the sun.
Greenville Dermatology has an array of sunless tanning and sunscreen products in our retail store. Our skincare experts can help guide you in determining the best products and SPF protection for your skin. Give us a call today at (864) 242-5872.