The Rush of the Tanning Bed

Do you feel a rush when you get a tan? Do you feel anxious when you don’t? If you need a tanning booth fix, those could be warning signs that you are addicted to tanning.

According to a report in the Archives of Dermatology, among 229 study participants who used indoor tanning facilities within the past year, averaging 23 visits, 90 (39.3 percent) met DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) criteria and 70 (30.6 percent) met CAGE (Cut down, Annoyed, Guilty, Eye-opener) criteria for addiction to indoor tanning.

Students who met the criteria for addiction to indoor tanning reported greater symptoms of anxiety and greater use of alcohol, marijuana, and other substances than those who did not meet these criteria. Depressive symptoms did not significantly vary by indoor tanning addiction status.

The study was undertaken to assess the prevalence of addiction to indoor tanning among college students, and its association with substance use and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Indeed, in addition to tanning of the skin, people were also looking for relaxation and improved mood, benefits that may lead to perceived dependency on indoor tanning. Researchers suspect that the habit of tanning could be exacerbated by social circle, especially for teens, the group most likely to frequent tanning booths.

Further research is needed to prove the theory behind this study. As an article in Reuters Health points out, the study shows a connection between tanning and factors like anxiety and substance use, suggesting a subgroup of individuals who are both addicted to indoor tanning and have an underlying mood disturbance. It does not prove if one of these behaviors leads to the other.

The Indoor Tanning Association estimates that about 10 percent of the American public visits an indoor tanning facility each year. The tanning industry was already taking heat from health organizations warning about skin cancer, and an FDA advisory panel recently recommended that the FDA keep children and teens from using tanning booths, or to have parental consent in order to do so.

The recently passed Patient Affordable Health Care Act dealt another strong blow with a 10 percent tax on individuals using indoor tanning services. The tax is expected to generate $2.7 billion over ten years.

This is not the first study that points toward the addictive qualities of the tanning experience, and health warnings abound. It is not likely to have much of an impact on those intent on obtaining the perfect tan, especially the ‘invincible’ young.

We’ve been duly warned. The rest is individual choice.



Monica M.
Past Member 6 years ago

The sun is our friend, but don't over do it. Tanning beds are not healthy, and those that use them do indeed have an organge glow. I have spent many years and many hours in the sun, but always with a large hat, (cowgirl) and sunglasses. I am proud of the healthy glow and the condition of my skin as I near 50. I have many friends who were very constant in tanning beds through the years, and 75% of them have skin cancer. My friends from the texas coast who treated their time in the sun with respect as I did, are not in bad shape. But not all types of skin will even tan, so please do beware, but enjoy the D vitamin. Choosing Bedspreads

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado6 years ago

Tanned people want to become white so the proliferation of these whitening products business - you may apply it on the skin, take them in the form of pills or have an intravenous injection. What will happen after prolonged use of these products?

Nellie K A.
Nellie K Adaba6 years ago

White people wnat to get darker and are jealous of darker skin complexions but they don't admit it. They are more at risk for skin cancer. May be there are better and more natural ways to get a tan.

Sylvia B.
Sylvia B.6 years ago

As for the "tanning addicts", one has to wonder about that, since the people reported with that problem also have issues with substance abuse. Are they hard-wired that way?

Linda M.
Linda M.6 years ago

everyone. please sign and share:

thanks so much

Barb F.
Barb F.6 years ago

A respectful reply to Mary C., I am in agreement the concept is unwise in choice, but sadly there are the handful who are die hard addicts of tanning beds, it's sad to see, and impossible to get through to someone that they are overdoing it. I'm vividly recalling a client who had tanned to the point of having a purplish grey coloring, the color of the bulbs in the tanning bed, the pigments in the skin will only tan to a degree, go past that, the coloring of the bulbs which varies by maker of the beds is what is seen, there is an accompanying then permanent aroma of burnt flesh as well, extremely unpleasant it is. There was no getting through to those who somehow thought they looked better, even when beyond health risk of overdoing it was pointed out, not to be used in excess, that tell tell bulb coloring and aroma was tragic to see, in any addiction there is a selective blindness to fact or image at times, tragic it is, happens in tanning bed use sometimes, sad but true.

Mary C.
Mary C.6 years ago

Stupid. You can't be "addicted" to tanning. You might believe it makes you attractive, which is dumb because it will destroy your skin.

Just get a "tan in a can" stuff. Works great, and keeps the wrinkles away.

Eco Warriors SoS  Rainfor


Eco Warriors SoS  Rainfor


Erin R.
Erin R.6 years ago

I prefer my pale skin. :-)