Researchers in the US have discovered that there are more tanning salons in neighbourhoods with high numbers of gay men – and that this could be raising skin cancer rates.
For the study, researchers looked at data of households where there were male same-sex couples across 4,091 census tracts, NBC News reports.
They then looked at the distribution of tanning salons in the same cities and founds that the odds of living near a tanning salon were twice as high in areas with high numbers of male couples.
Research is important as gay men experience higher rates of skin cancer than heterosexual men.
“This matters because gay men already experience many health disparities and also have higher rates of skin cancer,” Dr Eleni Linos, one of the study’s authors said.
She said that tannings beds are “a known carcinogen” and that having more of them available in neighbourhoods with high concentrations of gay men is problematic.
Gay and bisexual men are six times as likely as heterosexual men to use tanning salons, which doubles the risk of skin cancer.
This matters because gay men already experience many health disparities and also have higher rates of skin cancer.
Researchers examined the rates of tanning salons in 10 US cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Dallas, Phoenix, Portland, Denver and Washington D.C.
They also looked at other factors such as the percentage of white residents and the number of young women living in these areas, but they did not affect the outcome significantly.
Research has previously found a need to target gay and bisexual men with preventative measures.
Research conducted in 2015 found that gay and bisexual men were more likely to use tanning beds and also experienced higher rates of skin cancer than heterosexual men.
At the time, reserachers said that there was a strong need to target gay and bisexual men with preventative measures.
The research – which was published in JAMA Dermatology – involved 78,500 straight men, more than 3,000 gay and bisexual men, 108,000 straight women and 3,000 lesbians.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has claimed that indoor tanning beds are in no way safer to use than outdoor tanning.
Despite this, tanning salons remain persistently popular among various cohorts of society.