The need for appearance-based sun protection interventions for women

September 19, 2015


Skin cancers are becoming more prevalent even though many can be prevented. Women are more knowledgeable than men about skin cancer, yet they are more likely to sunbathe deliberately and to use artificial tanning equipment.

The purpose of this article is to examine messages that women receive about the benefits of a tan. Particularly, we focused on how the indoor UV tanning industry represents the value of a tan to women. We subjected five issues of Smart Tan Canada to thematic analysis. We examined language in advertisements and articles that promote an artificial tan to women.

Four themes emerged: Be Beautiful and Sexy; Look Young; Feel Better; and Science, Health, and Nature. These themes are especially effective in a culture that routinely objectifies women and places a high degree of value on their appearance.

We suggest that appearance-based interventions, media literacy training, and legislation could counteract the messages in the themes.


Prior SM and Rafuse LP. "Oh yeah, they're looking": A thematic analysis of indoor UV tanning industry advertising and articles. 10.1057/jphp.2015.24. [Epub ahead of print]. J Public Health Policy 2015 Sep 3.

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