U.S. Adults Lack Knowledge on Tanning, Sunburn Risks

About four in 10 U.S. adults believe a common tanning myth or are unaware of sunburn risks

By Physician’s Briefing Staff | May 27, 2022

Many U.S. adults still believe tanning myths and are unaware of sunburn risks, according to the results of a survey released by the American Academy of Dermatology.

The American Academy of Dermatology conducted a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults to understand their knowledge regarding tanning and sunburns.

According to the results of the survey, 45 percent of U.S. adults believe one or more of the following tanning myths: A base tan will prevent sunburns (22 percent), tanning is safe as long as you do not burn (20 percent), a base tan decreases the risk for skin cancer (18 percent), or tanning is healthy (13 percent). Furthermore, 39 percent of respondents are unaware of one or more of the following sunburn facts: You can get sunburned on a cloudy day (24 percent are unaware), you can get burned through a car window (15 percent), people with dark skin can get a sunburn (9 percent), sunburns increase the risk for skin cancer (7 percent).

"This increase in sunburns is very concerning," Elizabeth Bahar Houshmand, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in Dallas, said in a statement. "Both tanning and sunburning damage your skin. The more you tan and sunburn, the more this damage builds up over time, increasing your risk of premature skin aging, including age spots, sagging and wrinkling, and skin cancer."

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