Could indoor tanning actually cause depression?
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.
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.