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Editorial
September 2010

Intentional Tanning: More Than One Hammer Needed to Change Behavior

Arch Dermatol. 2010;146(9):1029-1030. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2010.222

In this issue of the Archives, Cokkinides et al1 report that 11% of US adolescents used sunless tanning products. Older girls and those desiring a tanned appearance were most likely to use those products. Decades of research have demonstrated that the belief that a tan improves appearance is one of the strongest predictors of UV light (UVL) exposure, but other factors, such as social interaction, socialization of women to conform to an ideal body image (eg, thin, toned body, and bronzed skin), perceived susceptibility to skin aging and skin cancer from UVL exposure, and factors related to relaxation and dependency are part of the multidimensional process.2,3 When making recommendations to our patients, dermatologists need to assess the patient's perception of the benefit of tanning.

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