Getting sunburnt once every two years can triple the risk of skin cancer but 46 per cent of people surveyed in Scotland will take the risk, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.
The poll also showed that young people aged 18-35 were more than twice as likely as their parents to believe that burning in the sun will result in a quicker tan.
One in ten are planning to sunbathe in the UK without lotion, and men are almost twice as likely as women to avoid protection.
The number of people diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, in the UK is on the rise with about 35 people being diagnosed every day.
Carol Goodman, skin cancer nurse specialist on the Macmillan Support Line, said: “This new research shows that, despite being aware of the health risks, people are still burning themselves in the sun in order to get a tan.
“Sunburn will cause serious damage to your skin, which can lead to cancer. “It is vital to protect your skin when out in the sun by using sun tan lotion, wearing sun protective clothing or staying in the shade between the hours of 11am and 3pm.”