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Addiction to Tanning Beds

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A recent study by two New York researchers has established that indoor tanning bed usage may be just as addictive as cigarettes or drugs. Researchers Sharon Danoff-Burg, PhD, of the University at Albany, and Catherine E. Mosher, PhD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, consulted 421 students at a Northeastern college about their tanning habits.

These pupils were given a survey normally used to identify drug and alcohol dependence which had been reworded to reflect their relationship with indoor tanning. Of the 421 students, 229 had visited indoor tanning salons. Of the 229 subjects, 160 met the researchers’ standards for indoor tanning addiction.  That’s 38% of all students tested qualifying as “addicted,” which could point to a major health concern for young adults.

Moreover, the study claimed that students addicted to tanning beds were also more inclined to have heightened anxiety and to abuse other addictive substances. “In addition to appearance enhancement, motivations [for tanning] include relaxation, improved mood, and socialization,” the study deduced.

While opponents have reservations about the study’s interpretation of addiction, it is a clear indication that indoor tanning is proving irresistible to some.  Considering that many studies have been released exposing the harmful effects of indoor tanning, it is important for young adults to understand what they are signing up for when they hit to tanning booth.

Our advice is to avoid the bronzed look altogether and opt for a healthy and natural skin tone.  The good news is this look is coming into fashion.  For New Jersey residents, we recommend sensible, limited sun exposure and using a sun screen of SPF 45 or higher every day to ensure that you are keeping your skin safe from the ravages of ultra-violet radiation.