New Study Looks at Tanning Addiction

According to a new study, more than 20 percent of young white women who have visited a tanning salon become addicted to the service. This is 1 in 5 women—and the addiction remains despite the risks of premature aging and skin cancer.

Additionally, these women also seem to depend on tanning in order to feel attracted and are likely to show signs of depression. Women who were depressed were four times more likely to have an addiction to tanning when compared to women who were not depressed.

The study, which was published in the journal cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, looked at the addiction among nearly 400 white women between the ages of 18 and 30 years. The study participants completed online questionnaires that were screened for addictive behavior.

Darren Mays, an assistant professor of oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center and the study’s lead researcher, stated that this group of young women becoming dependent on tanning puts them at a high risk for skin cancer later in life. Mays also indicated that indoor tanning is a public health concern: it increases the risk of the deadliest cancer, melanoma, by 20 percent.

While some scientists believe that tanning produces a byproduct that contributes to addictive behavior, the scientific adviser to the American Suntanning Association disagrees that the practice can be addictive.

Many doctors recommend being familiar with the risks of indoor tanning and using skin products such as bronzer to get a safe glow.

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