Is Tanning Addiction Real or a Hoax?

You've probably heard people talk about being addicted to tanning, or maybe even experienced it yourself, but is tanorexia a real thing? According to researchers, it's very real...and surprisingly common.

The study, conducted by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the University of Albany, found that 27 percent of those surveyed (college students) have a psychological dependence on tanning in UV-light beds and booths. And scientists say that addiction includes symptoms that are similar to those that alcoholics or smokers experience. As in, they tan with increasing frequency, deal with withdrawal issues or discomfort, and have trouble stopping the habit even though they know it's bad for them. Yikes.

Along with the new tan tax, this study could give researchers major clues as to how to get young women to stop baking. We sure hope so, considering going in a bed or a booth before age 30 increases your skin-cancer risk by 75 percent.

Know the Facts About UV Exposure:

  • Use a Sunscreen That Actually Protects. Dermatologists say that sunscreen with an SPF of 15 is the minimum needed to safeguard skin. Learn about the shocking consequences of skipping skin protection in A Death by Suntan at Age 26
  • Don't Be Fooled. As much as tanning salons may deny it, tanning beds do cause cancer. Learn about other lies tanning salons tell.
  • Treat Burns ASAP. You can actually undo some of the potential damage with this rescue plan.
  • Know the Signs of Skin Cancer. The ABCD guide has long been the standard in determining if a suspicious spot merits a derm's attention. But recently, a new letter was added: E, for evolving. Learn how to lower your risk of wrinkles, spots, and even cancer.

    A: ASYMMETRICAL
    B: An irregular BORDER
    C: More than two COLORS
    D: A DIAMETER wider than a pencil
    E: EVOLVING

Do you tan and, if so, why do you do it? Do you think you might have a psychological dependence or are you an infrequent tanning-bed user?

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.