The addiction of suntanning, especially for teens

Even though we know about the dangers of too much suntanning, why do some of us still work toward that perfect St. Tropez tan this summer? Personally, tanning is something I think little about. I inherited a pretty nice golden brown complexion at birth, so making an effort to sop up more of the sun’s addicting warm rays has never been an interest of mine.

But when I hear about people who can’t get enough of tanning beds or sun exposure, it sounds like an addiction. Actually, could it really be? There’s news out of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston that may explain why many people continue to tan either outdoors or in tanning beds, despite widespread campaigns to alert of the dangers to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UT’s study found that up to 53% of the tanners surveyed exhibited addictive suntanning behavior — one reason being that the sun exposure increases an endorphin euphoria, which can be addicting.

The leading group that seems to be at most risk for this addictive behavior is teenaged girls, 40 percent of whom have used a tanning bed at least once, according to the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Research also shows that 80% of skin damage happens before the age of 18.


Teens have a way of thinking they’re bullet-proof, so it’s up to the adults in their lives to educate them. Before a teen you know hits the beach or tanning beds this August, share this great one-page read from the FDA detailing the facts about tanning and the rise of serious skin cancer like melanoma.

Information is usually best received by your peers, which is why I’m glad to see this Teens Against Tanning petition. And don’t forget the beauty of a man-made tan! Plenty of beauty companies like Neutrogena offer enough sunless tanning products to keep our skin looking sun-kissed all year round, while helping us continue to take a stand against sun damage.

Author by Adrienne Wilson