Is Indoor Tanning Linked to Depression?

tanning addiction

Could indoor tanning actually cause depression?

tanning addiction

When we think of addiction, we typically think of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes. What we really need to understand is that the psychology behind addiction has nothing to do with the actual vice, and is more about the mentality of the person involved. Indoor tanning is probably something most people don’t associate with depression, but a recent survey of young, white women who engage in indoor tanning showed that one in five of them showed signs of addiction to the ultraviolet UV radiation.

Every time you tan, you are raising the lifetime risk of developing skin cancer by 1 or 2 percent. People who are addicted to tanning experience a dopamine response when exposed to UV light, a phenomenon which has been show to create an opioid response in mice. What this means is that people who are addicted to tanning who don’t indulge are more likely to experience symptoms of depression when denied exposure to the UV light.

READ MORE: Could Technology Addiction be Affecting Your Sleep?

With winter approaching (slowly), it’s important to think about these things, especially if you are someone who loves the bronze glow of summer, even during the cold months. My advice is to consider other alternatives such as self-tanners, but do your research to find one that doesn’t contain harmful chemicals or turn your skin orange.

Addiction and depression are serious things, so we owe it to ourselves to do everything we can to prevent them, especially when our actions could be linked to something as serious as skin cancer.

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Published by karenmsutton

HSS Orthopaedic surgeon in sports medicine | Mother of 4 amazing children | Team physician for USA Women's Lacrosse | ACL injury expert

One thought on “Is Indoor Tanning Linked to Depression?

  1. Hmm, not sure that I believe it.
    Isn’t being out in the sunshine suppose to make us feel good, maybe that experience also occurs to a certain extent in those who do the indoor tanning beds.
    I used to do the indoor tanning thing years ago. No doubt it is absolutely terrible for your skin, but the experience did boost my mood.

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