Clinical Edge

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Sexual Minority Men and Tanning Behavior Examined

JAMA Dermatology; ePub 2018 Feb 28; Gao, et al

Among sun-exposed individuals, sexual minority men (SMM) were more likely to use sunscreen and seek shade but less likely to use protective clothing when outdoors, and their composite sun protection scores were lower, according to a recent study. Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study including 13,698 adult men (370 SMM and 13,328 heterosexual men) using data from the 2015 National Health Interview Surveys. They calculated the age-adjusted prevalence rates and multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (aOR) by sexual orientation for indoor tanning, sunless tanning, sunburn, and sun avoidance. They found:

  • SMM, compared with heterosexual men, had increased odds of reporting indoor tanning (both ever and in the last year), sunless tanning, and sun avoidance.
  • There were no differences in sunburn rates.
  • Among current indoor tanners, frequent indoor tanning did not differ between SMM and heterosexual men (mean [SE] 37.0% [5.9%] vs 33.9% [6.6%], respectively; aOR, 0.66).


Gao Y, Arron ST, Linos E, Polcari I, Mansh MD. Indoor tanning, sunless tanning, and sun-protection behaviors among sexual minority men. [Published online ahead of print February 28, 2018]. JAMA Dermatology. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.0003.

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