I know it’s a little weird that I would decide to write a post about tanorexia on a tanning lotion website, but this is a real issue tanners need to worry about. I love getting color and to this day continue to stay bronzed but tanning addiction is a serious problem we all need to be informed about.
I used to go tanning once a week and use my “Free Sundays” every other week. So in reality I would tan once a week and every other week, I would tan twice a week. I thought nothing of this and figured it was fine because real tanorexics tan everyday, right? Wrong! I would stay the full amount of time in every bed I went in and began to not realize how dark I actually was. I would think I was pale if I missed a routine session in the bed and I was far from that. I am not telling you to not tan, or go in tanning beds, but I am merely presenting an issue that has been brought up for quite some time now. There have been stories and jokes of people being “tanorexic” for a long time now, but all I did is take it as a joke or a poke at me enjoying tanning beds so much. I never really thought I had an issue.
Its been a while since I’ve used a tanning bed now, I mean it’s summer and I’d like to try and get some real rays while I can, but back to my point… I never thought I was too tan when I used tanning beds. I thought I was just the right color…but then again I’d feel significantly paler if I missed a session. I ruled out my anxieties to just being neurotic and wanting to keep my tan dark and not wanting to waste my money that I’d spent on a package of sessions at the salon. Now looking back at pictures of when I tanned that way I feel ridiculous. All the comments people made about my dark tan were completely justified. I looked a completely different race. Now I mean no disrespect when I say that, but generally you don’t want to take it that far. If you want a tan you want it to be golden, glowing, fun and vibrant; not something over-the-top. When I look at these pictures I am embarrassed and cant believe I didn’t see how dark I was. My tan clearly looked fake and although I looked rested and had a dark shade it was definitely too much. I should have noticed how dark I was but all I was concerned with was how to keep my color and not be pale. These are the red flags of tanning addiction.
Over and over we hear of this “Tanorexia” but do we really know anything about it? It is real? What does it entail? And how do we make others more aware of the tell tale signs of a problem arising? Well I recently read an article that cleared up a lot of confusion of whether this problem is real or a concoction of BS. It turns out tanorexia is real. It is a real problem people face when they feel they need to maintain their tans and get anxiety when they cannot. These individuals also get anxiety about becoming pale therefore fueling their obsession with tanning salons and bronzed skin. Anyone can be tanorexic. Tanorexia has some interesting symptoms, side effects and withdrawals signs as well.
Symptoms of tanorexia include all of the above I mentioned. Having a fear of becoming pale, having anxiety when you cannot tan, feeling as if you are not dark enough, feeling that skipping one session at the salon will cause your tan to fade significantly where you become pale and the number one symptom, tanning excessively.
Side effects of excessive tanning include skin cancer which millions of people get diagnosed with every year. Melanoma is the most common and most serious kind of skin cancer. It is important if you are tanning to go to a dermatologist to get your skin checked out regularly to make sure there are no problems arising. Abstinence is always the number one key but if you can’t abstain from the sun or the wonderful tanning beds then prevention is the next step. Frequent tanning can also cause skin to look splotchy and feel leathery. Skin can dry out easily, you can get rosy cheeks (that don’t necessarily go away because you have damaged a layer of your skin so you would need to treat it for months with creams), can cause wrinkles and fine lines and give you an overall older look.
Withdrawal symptoms sounds ridiculous…trust me I know…but realistically there are some and you should know them. When tanorexics cannot tan they may experience nausea, anxiety, nervousness, dizziness, and sometimes depression. Some people are happier when they are exposed to sunlight or UV rays and when you tan you reduce negative moods. When the tanorexic cannot tan they can experience the opposite effect. Tanning induces endorphins to go off in the brain and creates a euphoric feeling for the tanner therefore making it act as an addiction. If the individual cannot tan or “get their fix” they experience negative symptoms and they obsess over it until they can get what they want or do what they want (in this case tan).
I am by no means at all putting down tanning. I absolutely love it..both in the sun and in tanning beds. I am just proposing a serious issue which has been thrown around in the news and community. I want to make people aware that this hobby can become addictive and become an issue. It is important to know the signs of when tanning or anything else is becoming a problem so I feel it my duty as a supporter of the industry and big fan myself to present these issues and facts. So don’t stop going to salons, just be aware that everything and anything can become a problem and when and if it does, you will know the signs and be one step ahead. Tanning is a wonderful thing. It lifts moods from the UV exposure, creates sexy tan bodies and makes us feel great about ourselves. There is nothing to hate or dislike about outdoor or indoor tanning…well except the dumb tax that was recently put on tanning salons…but that’s besides the point..that’s a whole other discussion…but tanning is fun and great. No one is asking you to stop doing it just be aware of what’s going on and how to tan safely. Tanning is addictive…and can we really blame it? It makes us look rested, chizzled and hot =)