Indoor Tanning May Be Addictive

Yet another piece of research proves indoor tanning is really bad for you. The skin cancer beds may be addictive – that’s right – addictive.   New findings published in the  Archives of Dermatology show that artificial tanning is habit-forming just like alcohol or drugs. Recreational indoor tanning has long been linked to higher risk for skin cancer. Furthermore, the researchers found the people addicted to indoor tanning also reported using drugs and alcohol.

Despite the research pointing to the dangers of indoor tanning, young adults are tanning more now than they have in the past. In fact according to a recent article “roughly 30 million Americans visit tanning salons at least once a year.”

The research study, conducted by Catherine Mosher, PhD, and her partner from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, surveyed 421 undergraduates about their tanning habits.  Questions such as, “Do you ever get annoyed when people tell you not to use tanning beds or booths?” or “Do you ever feel guilty that you are using tanning beds or booths too much?” were used to measure the addictive quality of indoor tanning.  The researchers found out that as a person gradually becomes more attached to the emotional “lift” by tanning, the addiction becomes stronger.

People start to depend on tanning to help them feel good. However, just like anything addictive, the short term high has long term consequences.

The treatment for these “tanning addicts” may be to get mental help for an underlying emotional problem. As the researchers explained, “Anxiety and depression are often comorbid with substance dependencetions for tanning… Treating an underlying mood disorder may be a necessary step in reducing skin cancer risk among those who frequently tan indoors.”

And if you think your tanning, helps your Seasonal Affective Disorder, think again. Light therapy (used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder) uses a different type of light. The bright bulbs used in tanning booths can actually ruin your eyes.

More research came out recently which said the best way to appeal to heavy tanners was not to preach about skin cancer, but rather explain the nasty wrinkles their leathery tanned skin will have in years to come. In a recent press release, professor of dermatology at Northwestern University June Robins found young college girls are more afraid of being “unattractive” then they are of getting melanoma.

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