In case you needed another reminder to always wear sunscreen, a new study has found that gay and bisexual men in the United States are twice as likely as heterosexual men to develop skin cancer, USA Today reports. The reason? Fake baking, of course. The study also found that gay and bisexual men are more likely to hang out in
cancer boxes tanning beds.
“The primary reason that men and women engage in indoor tanning is because of the cultural association of tanning with a healthy look and overall attractiveness, ” researcher Sarah Arron, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco, says. “We need to dispel the myth of the healthy tan.”
Researchers looked at government health surveys conducted in California between 2001 and 2009 and found a higher number of cases of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers among gay and bisexual men than heterosexual men. They also found that gay and bisexual men in California reported being three times more likely to engage in indoor tanning than straight men were.
Researchers then looked at national health surveys for 2013 and found similar results. Gay and bisexual men were twice as likely as in straight men to develop skin cancer, and about 5 percent of them said they had engaged in indoor tanning in the past year compared to just 1.7 percent of straight men.
“While unfortunate and alarming, the findings are not all that surprising,” says Fred Sainz, vice president for communication at the Human Rights Campaign. Sainz suggests gay men tan because they are vain and want to look “youthful and attractive.”
“It’s short-term gain vs. long-term pain,” he says.
So breakout the SPF 50, fellas. Unless, of course, you want to look like this: