The Resurrection of Tanning Among Gen Z: A Concerning Trend

In recent months, a surprising and worrying trend has emerged on TikTok: the revival of tanning among Gen Z. This resurgence is not just about sunbathing; it involves the use of tanning beds and even dangerous DIY tanning hacks, pushing a once-declining practice back into the spotlight.

TikTok has become a powerful platform for shaping beauty standards and trends. With its rapid and wide-reaching influence, it’s no surprise that the app has played a significant role in this tanning revival. Many Gen Z users are posting videos showcasing their tanning routines, both outdoor and indoor, often glamorizing the bronzed look and underplaying the associated risks.

Due to its severe health implications, the Skin Cancer Foundation, American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), and the medical community have long warned against indoor tanning. Tanning beds emit ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which significantly increases the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. According to the AAD, even a single session in a tanning bed can increase the risk of developing melanoma by 20%, squamous cell carcinoma by 67%, and basal cell carcinoma by 29%.

Additionally, tanning accelerates skin aging, causing wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, and an overall aged appearance. This irony should not be lost on the young individuals striving for beauty, as their quest for a temporary glow might lead to long-term skin damage and premature aging.

Many young people view tanning as a quick way to enhance their appearance, influenced by peer pressure and the desire to fit in with current beauty trends. The rise of “tanorexia,” a term describing an addiction to tanning, is a troubling development. Individuals addicted to tanning may use UV exposure to cope with body image issues, perpetuating a harmful cycle that is difficult to break. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.

Education is crucial in combating this dangerous trend. Dermatologists, skincare professionals, and parents must continue raising awareness about UV exposure risks and promote healthier alternatives. Many self-tanning products offer a safe way to achieve a bronzed look without the associated health risks, such as TanTowel® Body and TanTowel® Face available at skinfo®. These products have improved significantly, providing natural-looking results without damaging the skin.

Moreover, embracing natural skin tones and promoting body positivity can help shift beauty standards away from the harmful pursuit of tanning. Encouraging the use of sunscreen with an SPF 30 or above daily, even on cloudy days, is essential for protecting skin health. Feel free to visit our clinic’s affiliated store, skinfo®, for additional information and products that can help!