Loyola Student Dispatch

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Loyola probes the hazards of tanorexia

Posted by loyolastudentdispatch on May 21, 2010

courtesy videobloggingtips.com

Are you a “tanorexic”?

It’s described as an addiction to tanning and tanning beds.

And it can be hazardous to your health, according to doctors at Loyola University Health System.

Tanorexia is common among young, white females. Approximately 20 percent of 18 – 29 year-olds use indoor tanning booths, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Dermatologists at Loyola University Health System believe tanning addictions are a legitimate health problem.

“When a person visits a tanning booth, the body releases endorphins,” said Anthony Peterson, MD, director, Department of Dermatology, Loyola University Health System. “These chemicals produce the same feelings of euphoria that entice drug addicts and alcoholics.”

This may explain why the indoor tanning business is booming. Thirty million Americans visit tanning salons each year despite the risk for wrinkles and the dangers of ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet radiation causes approximately 90 percent of skin cancers, and the risk for melanoma increases by 75 percent if you tan indoors before age 35.

“Excessive tanning is a serious health concern in our society,” Peterson said. “We have to treat this like any other addiction and educate young women about its dangers to curb this behavior.”

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