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Hot or Not—Evaluating the Effect of Artificial Tanning on the Public's Perception of Attractiveness

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND

Despite strong evidence that sun exposure causes skin cancer, a significant proportion of the population continues to purposefully tan. Many individuals deliberately tan because they believe a tanned complexion makes them appear more attractive. OBJECTIVE

To measure the effect that a tanned complexion has on the public's perception of attractiveness. MATERIALS AND METHODS

Forty-five women aged 21 to 35 were recruited. A digital photograph was taken of each subject. Each image was uploaded onto a public website until it had been rated at least 100 times on a scale from 1 to 10. An average baseline, or untanned, rating of the image was calculated. The image was then given an artificial tan using a skin tanning protocol available for Adobe Photoshop. The tanned image was then re-uploaded onto the website and another average rating was calculated using the same criteria. RESULTS

The mean score±standard deviation was 6.3±2.3 for the untanned images and 6.5±2.3 for the tanned images (p<.001). CONCLUSIONS

The population who logged onto the website considers tanned people to be more attractive.

The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1524-4725.2010.01713.x

Affiliations: 1: Vanguard Dermatology and Skin Cancer Specialists, Colorado Springs, Colorado 2: Department of Dermatology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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