Millennials – defined by the Pew Research Center as people born between 1981 and 1996 – are largely uninformed about the sun safety and sunscreen recommendations and continue to tan despite warnings about skin cancer risk, according to a new study from Oregon State University-Cascades in Bend, Oregon, and Texas State University in Austin.
The study involved 250 college students, 47 percent male and 53 percent female, most of whom were between 18 and 23. The researchers assessed study participants’ knowledge about sun safety, sunscreen effectiveness, and dangers of UV ray exposure, and evaluated their tanning behaviors and motivation, and self-esteem levels.
According to researchers, about 70 percent of study participants reported purposefully tanning; one-third said having a tan is important to them; 37 percent said they feel better when they have a tan; and 41 percent said having a tan improves their confidence in their appearance. The average sun safety/sunscreen score was 54 percent. Results of the study suggest addictive tanning behavior is related to low self-esteem, narcissism, and the perception of improved appearance.