Dr Joel Hillhouse and colleagues from East Tennessee State University looked at the effectiveness of interventions focused on women's opinions of appearances.
They asked 430 college students who used sunbeds about their attitudes to tanning and planned behaviours. They also questioned the students about their motivation for sunbed use.
The women were surveyed before and after 200 of them were given information about the history of tanning, current tanning norms and the effect of UV radiation on the skin.
The women were also advised about recommendations for indoor tanning use and given information on healthier, appearance-enhancing alternatives, such as clothing choices and sunless tanning products.
Dr Joel Hillhouse and his team found that the advice was sufficient to reduce indoor tanning among those who demonstrated pathological tanning motives or who said they used sunbeds in an attempt to alleviate seasonal affective disorder symptoms.
The researchers concluded: 'The best methods for delivering these powerful messages and for matching message communication to individual preferences remain to be explored so that this promising intervention approach to skin cancer prevention can have a wider impact.'