(Reuters Health) – Women who use indoor tanning salons are more likely to have mood or body issues than the average person, suggests new research.
Compared to the general population, women who reported tanning at least 10 times in the last year were more likely to be obsessed with real or imaginary flaws in their appearance, to have episodes of depression related to changes in seasons and to have high stress levels.
“It may be the case in clinical settings that when we see people who do a lot of tanning, it may be a flag to look at other mental health issues,” said senior author Sherry Pagoto of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.
Previous research found that people tan due to needs stemming from their mood and appearance, the researchers write in a letter in JAMA Dermatology.
“We see sometimes with tanners an effort to get tanner and tanner and a feeling that you’re never tan enough,” Pagoto told Reuters Health. That type of behavior is not unlike body dysmorphic disorder, which is when people feel there is an issue with their appearance that can’t be fixed.
Past research also suggests that people who tan may be at an increased risk of elevated stress and seasonal affective disorder – or SAD.
“We looked at these three things and we wanted to see if we found elevated rates among people who tan,” Pagoto said.
The researchers recruited 74 women, ages 19 to 63 years, who had been tanning at least 10 times in the past year and at least four times in the past two months.
They surveyed the women with questions that would help detect body dysmorphic disorder, SAD and elevated stress and then compared the women’s scores to what would be expected in the general population.
Overall, 39 percent of the —> Read More