Indoor Tanning Among Adults in the United States

Indoor tanning is declining in the United States, but nearly 8 million adults still tan each year.

Indoor tanning is decreasing in the United States, possibly because more people know about its dangers: it increases the risk of skin cancer, including deadly melanoma. Even with the decrease in use, millions of adults continue to indoor tan, increasing their risk for skin cancer and other health problems.

CDC monitors indoor tanning to track progress towards national goals for skin cancer prevention. CDC researchers compared responses to questions about indoor tanning on the National Health Interview Survey from 2010, 2013, and 2015.

Key Findings

  • The percentage of adults who indoor tan went down from 5.5% in 2010 to 3.5% in 2015.
  • The percentage of women who indoor tan went down from 8.6% in 2010 to 5.2% in 2015.
  • The percentage of men who tan indoors went down from 2.2% in 2010 to 1.6% in 2015.
  • Indoor tanning went down among the groups most likely to tan—young women and non-Hispanic white women. Indoor tanners were more likely than non-indoor tanners to report having had a sunburn in the 12 months before the survey, and 6.7% of indoor tanners reported having been burned by an indoor tanning device in the previous year.

Reducing indoor tanning remains an important opportunity for skin cancer prevention, and continued efforts are needed to reduce tanning behaviors further.

Line chart showing the decrease in tanning between 2010 and 2015 among men, women, and both sexes combined. The percentage of adults who indoor tan went down from 5.5% in 2010 to 4.2% in 2013 and to 3.5% in 2015. The percentage of women who indoor tan went down from 8.6% in 2010 to 6.5% in 2013 and to 5.2% in 2015. The percentage of men who tan indoors went from 2.2% in 2010 to 1.7% in 2013 and to 1.26 in 2015.

Citation

Guy GP Jr, Watson M, Seidenberg AB, Hartman AM, Perna F. Trends in indoor tanning and its association with sunburn among U.S. adults.External Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2017.

Page last reviewed: August 15, 2018