Despite the dangers inherent in artificial tanning devices, up to 30 million people a year still go to tanning beds and subject themselves to potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation. A 2007 study by Wake Forest reveals that tanning beds may actually be addictive. Here are the dangers of artificial tanning and what you can do to try to break the cycle.
Risks of Ultraviolet Radiation
In an article posted to WebMD, ultraviolet tanning bed lamps give off four times as much radiation as your skin absorbs outdoors when you tan naturally. The results can be wrinkles, brittle skin, and eventually skin cancer. Upwards of 30 million Americans get their tans from tanning beds and could possibly be affected. Many people who are addicted to tanning also show signs of possible drug addiction in a recent study.
Two studies point to a possibility of tanning being physically addictive. In 2006 a small study conducted at Wake Forest University showed that tanning produces an endorphin effect in the brain. In other words those who conducted frequent tanning saw a release of pleasurable chemicals from the brain. When given drugs that inhibit and block these same chemicals, study participants either tanned less or were jittery and nervous as if they had withdrawal symptoms according Science Daily.
Another report by the same publication depicted a 2007 study in the state of Washington that indicated that tanning is equally as addictive as alcohol and smoking, up to 18% in young adults ages 18-25. Of the people who do use tanning beds, 41 percent said they “felt good” afterwards.
What To Do
The trick to getting rid of a dangerous addiction is to replace that endorphin response with something else. Instead of tanning there are several ways to trigger your own natural pleasure centers. MedicineNet.com has an article that suggests many activities that release endorphins in the body naturally.
Exercise, eating chocolate (not too much), yoga, meditation, massage therapy, and acupuncture all have been shown to produce endorphin responses. Exercise has been shown as a naturally remedy for depression according to WebMD. Depression has often been treated with medications that increase endorphins to the human body.
One great way to get some more endorphins is to have sex. Sexual responses have multiple benefits as you increase endorphins in your body as well as burn calories according to MomScape.com. Endorphins in and of themselves are not addictive although some actions that get an endorphin response can be such as drugs and alcohol.
If you still feel like you need a tan to look good, spray-on tans and chemicals can do the trick without having to go to harmful tanning beds. Trying any one of these products will at least reduce the amount of ultraviolet radiation that you take in when you embark upon tanning bed abuse.
This article is for informational purposes only. Talk to your doctor about the dangers of tanning and tanning beds and what you can do to help break any cycle of addiction.