Study: Tan People Appear More Attractive

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For years people have been warned about the risks associated with excessive sun exposure but new research shows those who appear tanner may have an advantage after all.

Researchers at Emory University found that the majority of people find someone with a tanner complexion more attractive and healthier looking. Some say that’s reason enough to soak up some rays.

“I just like looking tan” said one Lake Calhoun tanner.

“You look skinnier when you’re tan,” added another.

The researchers used Photoshop to alter pictures of women to make them appear tanner. Then both the original and the doctored photos were uploaded to a popular attractiveness-rating website. The darker version of the photos was twice as likely to be rated as more attractive.

Some sunbathers at Lake Calhoun said they use sun block occasionally, but probably not as much as they should.

Spending an entire day on the beach with no sun block is the same as spending just 20 minutes in a tanning bed.

  • karen d

    Seriously? A study needed to be done? Unbelievable!

  • Jim

    That is one of the dumbest articles and studies ever done. Of course people think tan people are more attractive. That’s why people have been tanning throughout the decades. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s not healthy. To say, “those who appear tanner may have an advantage after all.” is the dumbest comment. As if it’s some new revelation that tanning causes people to think you are more attractive. That’s why people were tanning in the first place!!! It appears the people that did this study and the writer of this article have way too much time on their hands.

    • M B

      Actually, it’s not done through the ages as you call it. Hundreds of years ago, royalty were pasty white and fat, and that was considered attractive. Why? Because it meant they were rich enough to be able to eat lots and not have to toil outside to do so. It was actually a status symbol and a sign of your wealth. People who were tan were the peasants who had to sit outside in the fields tending animals or crops.
      In this day and age, where food is relatively abundant for all, being pasty white and fat is a sign of laziness (or illness) and someone unwilling/unable to take care of themselves by getting outside and exercising.

  • Sue Velure

    i would like a job thinking up and doing these studies….

  • M

    Spending an entire day on the beach with no sun block is the same as spending just 20 minutes in a tanning bed. Somehow I don’t believe this. I’d like to see a sited source on that bit of info.

    • wrightbros

      I agree. Different times of day mean different UV intensity. That’s basic science. Everyone knows that. At least, everyone did when I was a kid. Look at California. Perfect example. Ask ANYONE who either lives there or has been there, and they’ll tell you that you should never go outside w/ the intention to get a tan during certain times of the day. I think it’s between 10-2 every day if I’m remembering correctly from when I visited my family there. Thus, this so called “fact” in this article is not a fact after all. It’s a misguided statement made by a person who clearly knows nothing at all about science, and basic third grade science at that. And THAT is a fact.

  • MG

    I believe the statement that spending a whole day on the beach with no sun block is the same as spending 20 minutes in the booth. The booths these days are very high powered. You pay extra, but a Mega booth will tan you up in no time.

  • Robert

    Stay out of the sun and tanning booths. I spent years tanning and now I’m paying the price. I spend more time in a doctor’s office having things burned, removed and cut out. And it ain’t fun and not pretty. And don’t think using a tanning booth or a sunscreen will not going to prevent damage. There is NO healthy tan.

  • Tan = Handsome? « CBS Minnesota

    […] [WCCO: Health] Share this article No comments // […]

  • Kathie

    I agree with Robert. Once you have malignant melanoma you’ll change your mind on the importance of that tan. I used to think it was as a teenager but that’s when you need to stay out of the sun. Childhood sunburns will come back to haunt you.

  • jan

    I was a sun worshiper and started tanning in March in my garage out of the wind in my shorts. I spent at least ten hours a week tanning until mid September. I loved being tan and I looked so cool. It doesn’t look so good now to have a scar running through my cheek and both sides of my nose cut out and my cheek skin closing up the holes. I never thought skin cancer would happen to me, I was young and invincible. Each semi annual dermagologist visit is very anxiety producing and waiting for the results of skin biopsies is not my idea of fun. Don’t lie in the sun people, it’s not worth it!!

    • goaway-potzie

      Never Happened, is it mid september, and wasn’t it like 2 degrees in march

      • @goaway-potzie

        She may have lived in the south where the weather is hot in March. Think! Not everyone is originally from the polar tundra.

  • kevin

    More wasted money!

  • Nancy Aleshire

    Why don’t you revisit these so called beautifully tanned bodies in about twenty or thirty years? If they don’t have scars from melanoma surgery, then their bodies will look like leather or crocodile skin. It will be more apparent when you go through menopause and your skin looses its elasticity or especially if you smoke. So please use sunblock and get rid of all unsightly moles.

  • Schae

    Sunscreen isn’t totally safe either. People think that higher the SPF, the greater the protection. WRONG! The SPF on the labels is misleading and people are mislead to believe that they are being protected from the sun. Also, I know of a couple of people who used sunscreen religiously and STILL ended up being diagnosed with skin cancer. Sunscreen is also one of the WORST things to put on skin for people who have skin conditions such as severe eczema and atopic dermatitis.

  • WS

    If you have 5 spare minutes, this video is fantastic, and a tear jerker. I believe it is put out by It discuss melanoma, and the people directly effected by skin cancer.

  • See BS

    Pastey white redheads are very attractive to me.

    Tan looks nice until a Tan Junky starts looking all wrinkled when they get older.

    • hahahaha

      Older people are gross anyway so why not look good for 20 years.

  • Sarah in Outstate MN

    I am as pale as pastuerized milk. This is the way I was born. I had a friend in college who got skin cancer because she tanned frequently. No thanks. I’ll stick to being the color of 1% milk

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