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Indoor tanning (IT) before the age of 35 increases melanoma risk by 75%. Nevertheless, IT and sunless tanning product (STP) use have gained popularity among youth. However, there are limited data on the prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of both IT and STP use in a representative sample of American teens.


Teenage females (N = 778) aged 12–18 years were recruited as part of an on-going longitudinal study conducted between May 2011 and May 2013. Descriptive statistics explored IT and STP usage in teen females at baseline. Logistic regression was used to determine sociodemographic correlates of IT and STP use.


Approximately 16% of female teens engaged in IT behavior and 25% engaged in using STPs. Female teens living in non-metropolitan areas were 82% more likely to indoor tan compared to those in metropolitan areas (OR = 1.82, 95% CI: 1.07–3.10). Age, geographic regions, and race increased the likelihood of IT and STP use.


Results indicate a significant proportion of teen females engage in IT and STP use. There was evidence that in teens that have never used IT before, STP use precedes IT initiation. Given the evidence for increased IT in rural populations, research focused on rural tanning bed use is needed.

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© 2014 Published by Elsevier Inc. This document was originally published in Preventive Medicine Reports.