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Do You Have a Tanning Addiction?

 In Addiction

Tanning addiction is when an individual spends excessive time tanning either at the beach at home or in the tanning bed. A 2017 Georgetown university study showed that 20 percent of women who tan show signs of dependency. There is no healthy UV tan; excessive tanning can lead to premature wrinkles, leather-like skin, and hyperpigmentation.

According to skincancer.org, “Understanding why people feel compelled to tan is important because it helps physicians and other health care advocates develop better intervention techniques that encourage people to stop tanning,” says Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “There is no such thing as a healthy UV tan. Whether laying out on the beach or in a tanning bed, the damage your skin sustains can lead to skin aging and potentially deadly skin cancer.”

Causes: 

When the skin is exposed to UV rays, it produces endorphins which can become addicting. Skin cancer causes one person to lose their life every 57 minutes. 

Signs and symptoms of tanning addiction:

  • Not being able to quit, although the adverse effects are known
  • Spending excessive amounts of time thinking about or tanning 
  • Tanning after having skin cancer
  • Moving to a warmer climate to tan 
  • Avoiding friends or family to tan 
  • Having an addictive personality can increase the potential of a tanning addiction 

Treatment for tanning addiction: 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT is a psychotherapy that helps turn negative thinking patterns into positive ones. 
  • Group therapy is when a group of individuals come together with similar issues and discuss the addiction and how to overcome it. Usually, a licensed medical professional is in charge of the group. 
  • REBT is a type of psychotherapy that challenges irrational and negative thoughts. 

Please contact a medical professional if you or a loved one is struggling with tanning addiction. Frequent tanners can run into health conditions such as breast cancer and forms of skin cancer. Some co-occurring disorders include other behavioral addictions such as eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression, and seasonal affective disorder. They may want to run some tests and check for skin cancer before deciding the course of treatment for the addictive behavior. It is vital to your health and well-being to get help and get on the road to recovery. 

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