Now that summer’s on it’s way, hitting the tanning booth to balance out that pale winter skin can be both a mood and skin enhancer. Tanning booths are a common find in the colder states, and many chains and franchises in these locations are highly profitable business ventures. Still, whether it’s an indoor booth or natural rays from the sun, the process can quickly turn into a form of addiction. ‘Tanorexia’ is the term used to describe people who have literally become hooked; in spite of health risks, these people actually start to carve the UV light.
If striving for that over-bronzed look is keeping you away from daily activities and responsibilities, maybe it’s time to do a self-check. Here are six signs that you might be addicted to tanning:
1. You spend more time sun side or at the tanning booth than you do on other healthy hobbies. Don’t overlook how much time you’re clocking in for absorbing those rays! Keep in mind that increased sun exposure only increases your chances of skin cancer.
2. Maintaining the ‘perfect tan’ becomes a top priority. If you’re letting other parts of your life slip by the wayside, in favor of bronzing that skin, be sure to take some to reassess your time and investment once in awhile.
3. You experience guilt from ignoring other responsibilities. A trademark of addiction, feeling constant guilt from pursuing your chosen activity over others is an indicator of an imbalance in this area of your life.
4. Your skin starts to look unhealthy. Overtanning not only increases your risk for skin cancer, but it’s a leading cause of wrinkles, sagging skin, and poor skin texture. Always be sure to moisturize and apply plenty of sunblock if you’re a frequent ‘skin baker.’ Skin protection is essential no matter how frequently you pursue the habit.
5. You make tanning a competitive sport. You and your friends get darker and darker over a period of a few weeks, and you simply can’t stop. ‘Tanorexics’ often withdraw from social situations, and pursue the habit relentlessly.
6. Your body image starts to suffer. Many young women and teens suffer from a poor self image, and this is only enhanced with a focus on tanning and exercise. Tanning addicts often have underlying issues of low self-esteem and poor body images. Male or female, the addiction can take its toll on anyone after a short period of time.
Some research suggests that UV light can help release endorphins in the body. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers, and many people can simply become addicted to this pain-free lifestyle over a period of time. If you’re finding that it requires longer time under the sun to balance out your mood, correcting the real source of this imbalance needs to be your top priority.
If that sunbed has become your home away from home, switch gears and start pursuing other alternatives for improving your lifestyle. Self tanners, bronzing cosmetics, and instant tanning lotions can all provide similar benefits as an authentic sun-kissed look.