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Who Uses Tanning Beds?

By Grace Palce

When tanning beds first hit the markets, the sole purpose of this technology, to provide indoor tanning, is simply cosmetic in nature. Obtaining a gorgeous dark olive skin seemed trivial and the tanning bed is less grand compared to other technological inventions. Thus, the primary users of tanning beds are young women who only wanted a tan to show off to their friends.

Further studies, however, showed that tanning beds are not only useful for darkening the skin. The ultraviolet radiation emitted by the tanning bed lamps has been found to enforce vitamin D production in the human skin in the same way that the direct exposure to sun's rays can. Vitamin D is a major substance needed to strengthen the bones and to prevent diseases. Thus, it can be said that the responsible use of tanning beds can contribute to the overall health of a person.

With these studies, the profile of tanning bed users begins to change dramatically. Instead of being purely composed of young women, the profile of tanning bed users now has men and older adults. And this was shown in the study conducted by a group of researchers led by Dr. Michael Strepp. The results of this 2004 study were compared to the results of the last 1996 survey.

In the 1996 survey, almost all users of tanning beds are college-age women. But in the most recent market research, about 30% of tanning bed users are now composed of men. A similar survey of Canadian tanning salons showed a comparable data. That is, 25% of all patrons of 160 Canadian tanning salons are male. The percentages are expected to increase since the tanning salons now are built separate from hair and beauty salons. Men will be more comfortable entering tanning salons.

An interesting data came out of the survey regarding male users. One tanning salon reported that though 27% of its clientele are male, 40% of its profits come from the male customers. This is because men use the tanning beds more often than women.

The recent market study also showed that older people are now using tanning beds. That is 70% of all surveyed tanning bed users are aged older than 25. And in New York, men over the age of 40 are beginning to use tanning beds. There are even senior citizens who now enter tanning salons.

As the health benefits of using tanning beds become more popular, more men and more older adults are going to utilize this indoor tanning technology. These new wave of users are responsible and health-conscious people intent on using a proven technology.

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