New research has found that one in seven people return to tanning salons after
being diagnosed with skin cancer, even though indoor tanning is known to
increase the risk of the disease. Cancer prevention researcher Brenda Cartmel,
the study’s lead author, told Reuters, “The situation may be analogous to that
of lung cancer patients who continue to smoke after diagnosis.
Just as tobacco is known to be addictive, our research suggests that some patients may become dependent on tanning, with new intervention approaches needed to change these
behaviors.” More than half of those who went back to tanning booths reported
symptoms of dependence, such as feeling guilty about tanning or needing to tan
first thing in the morning.
Dermatologist Dr. Steven Feldman told Reuters he
wasn’t surprised by the results, saying that tanning can be not only
psychologically addictive, but physically addictive too. He said, “If you take
skin cells in culture and expose them to UV light, they make endorphins, those