On the train on this morning, I read an article in Metro about how women and men are literally getting hooked on tanning. You could blame this on the cast of Jersey Shore and their penchant for GTL (gym, tanning, laundry), but this national addiction has been decades in the making (hello, 80’s!). According to Dr. Svetlana Kogan, member of the American Anti-aging Academy, tanning may be addictive because it has effects that are similar to those of alcohol and drugs. Dr. Kogan says: “Any time a behavior is reinforced with some kind of positive stimulus, it can become addictive. Ironically, they feel like something good is being done to the body. Plus, it’s a quick and painless fix. If you want a six-pack, you have to go to the gym and sweat it out for months. This is habituating because it’s instant gratification.”
Most people I know started tanning in high school as a base for spring break or to get a summertime glow for the prom. In hindsight, I was lucky because I’m fair-skinned and burn easily, so tanning (of any kind — indoor or outdoor) has never been an option for me. Fast-forward a decade or two and it’s easy to see the toll that tanning takes — some of my high school classmates have continued to hit the tanning bed hard, and it shows (I’m talking leather here, folks). It’s safe to say that I won’t be joining Snooki and The Situation at the tanning salon any time soon — although, gulp, I did just move to Jersey. Mamma mia!
What’s your experience with tanning beds? Could you be an addict?