Tanorexia

The bronze tan is a dream of many young ladies and if several years ago it could be achieved only by exposing to sunlight, today it can be done by a visit in the tanning salon. Thanks to the impact of the sun rays to the human body there is synthesis of vitamin D, E and endorphins – the hormone of the happiness. If a person visits the tanning studio more than twice a week and the duration of a session is more than ten minutes, than this means that the person is susceptible to tanorexia – addiction to gaining more and more tan, which is psychological UV ray dependence.

What is tanorexia (tan addiction)?

Tanorexia is an addiction to tan gaining. This mania surprised the scientists and they describe it as an illness. The term “ tanorexia ” comes from the English word “tan” and the illness “anorexia”. Tanorexic people are those that continue sunbathing or visiting tanning studios even though they know how bad for their health that is. They always think that their skin is too pale and they always want darker and darker tan, just like the anorexic people always want to become thinner and thinner.

Tanorexia is most common in very thin girls and women in the age between 16 and 40.
Tan maniacs most probably feel addicted to UV rays just like some people are addicted to alcohol, drugs or cigars. Doctors warn that after long exposure to sunlight, spots and burns may occur and in the worst cases- skin cancer.

What makes tanorexia dangerous?

The UV rays, which make human skin react and gain a bronze tan, are the reason for many negative consequences. The human skin age faster (photo aging) and the result is early wrinkles and thinning of the skin. It becomes easy to be damaged. It also becomes predisposed to infectious dermatitis and UV rays may cause hyper function of the thyroid gland. The most dangerous consequence, however, is the skin cancer or the so called melanoma. Swedish scientists found that in 55% of the women who visit tanning studio more than once a month, melanoma is found. In some cases, tanorexia leads to severe loss of weight (cachexia).

  • Gaining tan may cause euphoria

Some scientific research from the Wake Forest University in 2006 shows that the UV radiation in the solarium cause the production of endorphin- a substance that is released into the brain and is very similar to morphine in its actions. The endorphin causes euphoric feelings and decreases the feel of pain. In the research participated 8 people who take care of their tan quite often and visit solarium about 8 to 15 times a month and 8 people who do the same thing not more than 12 times a year. To all the participants was administered a drug, which blocks the production of endorphin in the organism and were instructed to visit a solarium with UV radiation and without UV radiation.

The people who take care of their tan more often, were more likely to visit the solarium with the UV radiation. When they visited the solarium without the UV radiation they showed signs similar to the signs of a person who quits drug abuse. The second group of the experiment showed no signs at all.

  • The effect of tanning on our bodies

Did you know that when skin becomes darker it is actually due to the damage of skin cells?  The skin becomes darker to protect itself. Tanorexic people literary damage their cell DNA, which leads to skin cancer. Unlike the common believes, the use of a solarium is not safer than the exposure to the sun. Many experts say that artificial sunlight has worse effect than the real one, because the used UV rays have connection with the melanoma illness- deadly skin cancer. The scientists warn that the solarium must be visited not more than ten times a year, and the sessions must be short.

People under the age of 18 must not visit tanning studios at any case, because their skin lacks enough protective strength. Solarium is also bad for people with sensitive skin, lots of moles and tattoos, for people with gynecological problems, diabetes, problems with the endocrine system. There are enough medications that increase the skin sensitivity to UV rays, like the birth control pills and the antibiotics. Those, for whom the moderate gaining of tan is safe must have several things in mind. The first sessions must not last longer than 5 minutes, and the following ones must not be longer than 15 minutes with intervals of minimum 3 days.

Before every session make up and perfumes must be removed. Otherwise some pigmentation or allergic reaction may occur. Do not visit tanning studio within a month after epilation or laser treatment. While in session it is advisable to use special protective glasses because the rays are harmful to the eyes. Hair and breasts must be covered and the lips must be protected by lip balm. While or after sunbathing or solarium it is necessary for the skin to be covered with lotions, which preserve the moisture of the skin. Those lotions must contain as less perfumes and additives as possible.

  • What about sunbathing?

When you are exposed to severe sunlight it is good to wear hat and some light clothing, that covers most of your body. Use protective lotions with SPF at least 15 and spread it all over your body at least 20 minutes before sunbathing, so it can activate. After the explosion to UV rays, it is good to put some hydrating care to your skin, so you can preserve its moisture. It is advisable not to sunbathe between 10 and 16 o’clock. Beautiful and natural looking tan can be achieved with self-tanning lotions, spray tan and other bronzing products.

Despite all the negative results of sunbathing and solarium, there are also some good effects. Doctors permit up to 10 sessions in a year for people with psoriasis, certain allergies and skin diseases, because the UV radiation has positive effect in those cases. However, it is quite important, for the sessions not to be very often because the skin can peel and become very dry.

  • Recommendations

The sessions are not preferable if you use mesotherapy, pilling, youth infusing injections, if you take antibiotics, have inflamed skin, if you are pregnant or if you are breastfeeding, if you have dry or very pale skin. If you make more of the advisable 10 sessions, the solariums begin to harm your health and may cause skin cancer. During the recent years, the skin cancer is 4 times more common in patients between 18 and 27 years of age. The main cause of that are the artificial UV rays.

Since all the tanning beds have different power, the duration of a single session is different. At the beginning it always must be shorter, so that a gradual tanning can be achieved. The experts add, that the cosmetics used while using a solarium are different from the one we use while sunbathing. 

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