It's interesting to note a scary statistic pointed out by Sen. Ted Lieu, the author of the California bill. In Los Angeles County, there are more tanning establishments than there are McDonald's or Starbucks. So while you ponder that pumpkin latte and Big Mac, know that various state lawmakers have been in talks about banning tanning bed for teens for years; many states even have restrictions on the practice. And if California's new law is any indication, we can expect to see many more states following suit, too.
Unsurprisingly, people's butts were particularly uneven tanners — compared to test subjects' backs, for example, they were initially much more resistant to tanning, and then when they did "get some color" it wasn't as much as in other areas of the body. In other words, if you've got a pasty posterior, it's a better idea to slather on the self-tanner than the baby oil. But you knew that already, right?
Exposure to the high levels of UVA in modern tanning beds releases a rush of feel-good endorphins, and the sense that a tan makes you look thinner or prettier further reinforces that sense of well being. In fact, researchers at Wake Forest found that frequent tanners actually went through withdrawal when given medicine that blocks the pleasure centers that narcotics usually affect. And 26 percent of frequent tanners who filled out a standard questionnaire used to measure alcohol abuse fulfilled all the necessary criteria to be considered addicts. Now several researchers are angling to have "tanorexia," as it's half-jokingly known outside the medical community, added to the next Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — the bible of therapists and analysts everywhere.
With all the negative information now out there about prolonged and overfrequent UV exposure, do you think tanning addiction should be classified as a disease?
A visit to the App Store proves that there are more iPhone applications available than you could ever imagine. Among them are many amazing ones, but then there are some true duds. And when it comes to the beauty-related ones, there are some truly useful ones, like the SpaFinder, and there are some silly fun finds, like the Tattoo Shop one. It's the questionable ones, however, that are the inspiration behind this post. See what I mean now.
Over the weekend I was at brunch with a large group of women when one of them mentioned she used a tanning bed to prepare for a Caribbean vacation. I was totally shocked! While most of you admit to using a tanning bed in the past, I'm willing to bet that after realizing just how bad they are for your health, you stopped.With vacation and bikini seasons looming ahead, I can see why it's tempting to jump in the tanning bed for a little color; especially if you're worried about burning in the sun. But the LA Times recently reported on "tanorexics" — people addicted to tanning. According to the article, one in four teens shows signs of tanorexia, a dangerous obsession that could lead to skin cancer. Researchers think that tanning may cause a rush of endorphins in the brain, which can in turn cause feelings of well-being similar to a runner's high. And judging by my brunch experience, teens aren't the only ones susceptible to these feelings.
While you may think a little glow makes you look healthier, a natural tan is actually your skin's reaction to UV exposure. And according to one FDA scientist, "any tan is a sign of skin damage. Recognizing exposure to the rays as an 'insult,' the skin acts in self-defense by producing more melanin, a pigment that darkens the skin." This leads to premature aging, and in severe cases, cancer. If you're chasing that natural glow, try an at-home tanner, or spray-on tan. While neither will provide a "base" for UV exposure, they'll give you the healthy glow you're looking for. And, of course, when you're out in the sun, wear sunscreen. In my opinion, the risks of UV exposure are not worth the reward.
A doctor at Boston University (who is also a professor) says that while he doesn't endorse tanning salons, when tanning beds are used in moderation they can be a good substitute for natural sunlight, which aids in the body's production of vitamin D. I'm not sure how you can both encourage use and warn of the dangers of the tanning bed, especially if you're dispensing the advice to anyone looking for an excuse to visit a "healthier" tanning bed.
His recommendation stems from research that taking a vitamin D supplement may not be the best way to get the vitamin — in fact, three out of four Americans don't get enough. Increased amounts of vitamin D have been associated with decreased chances of colon and breast cancers, and additional benefits to the heart and immune systems. To those using tanning beds to get an extra shot of vitamin D, the doctor recommends using sunscreen and choosing beds that use only low-florescent lamps. Vitamin D benefit or not, do your skin and health a favor and stay out of the tanning salon.
Tanned golden skin is seen as beautiful and healthy, so many fair-skinned ladies and gents use indoor tanning beds to get a quick sun-kissed glow. We've all heard that UV exposure from this fake sun can lead to skin cancer, but now new research has identified tanning as even more dangerous than first thought. International cancer experts have moved tanning beds and other sources of ultraviolet radiation into the top cancer risk category, saying they are as deadly as arsenic and mustard gas. They add that anyone who's started toasting at the electric beach before the age of 30 has increased their risk for skin cancer by 75 percent. Tanning bed users are also at risk for eye cancer.
Previously, skin cancer rates were highest in people over 75, but now doctors are seeing more and more cases in women in their 20s. It's not just tanning beds you have to worry about, it's UV radiation from the sun too. So if you want a tan, go for bronzers, sunless self-tanning lotion, or spray tans. They'll give you the glow without the risk. If you do enjoy being out in the Summer sun, just protect yourself with sunscreen.