(And by the way, studies like this one have shown that vitamin D, which is a byproduct of tanning, has beneficial anti-cancer effects for breast and colorectal cancer, in spite of the risk of melanoma from too much UV exposure. Other studies show protective effects of vitamin D for ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer too.)
Anyhow, it seems that some people can't get enough sun tanning, in spite of the risks. Perhaps it's addictive:
New Study Indicates Tanning May Be Addictive
Despite repeated health warnings about the dangers of tanning from sunlight and artificial light sources, there are still those whose mantra “bronzed is beautiful” remains unshaken. Dermatologists have long suspected that some people may be addicted to tanning – similar to addictions to drugs or alcohol – and refuse to alter their behaviors, even knowing they have an increased risk of developing skin cancer. Now, a new study of college co-eds indicates that some people may be addicted to ultraviolet (UV) light.
Why would this be? Most likely for the same reason that the process of getting a tan feels good. Dermatologist Robert Hornung, who led a questionnaire study to investigate the motivations of dedicated tanners, explains:
“We also know from previous experiments that UV light causes endorphin release, similar to the euphoric sensation associated with intense exercise commonly referred to as ‘runner’s high’ or other pleasure-seeking behavior. Our study set out to find whether certain individuals, particularly those who classify themselves as frequent tanners, exhibit addictive behaviors toward tanning.”
However, it's not clear from what's reported here whether frequent tanners have an actual chemical dependency to their own endorphins. For instance, do they have withdrawal symptoms if they stop tanning abruptly? Are there other signs of a biochemical effect?
Perhaps its time to head to Maui to do a little more research... Or perhaps the nearest nudist resort would be a good choice for some field work. I'd volunteer. Wonder where to apply for a grant...
Tags: sun tanning, endorphins, cancer, vitamin D
Labels: health and medicine
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