Addicted to the "Dark Side"
145 beachgoers on Galveston Island in Texas were asked a series of questions belonging to two psychological tests. Both of these tests were based on surveys to determine alcohol and substance abuse. The results?
Depending on which survey, somewhere between 26%-53% of people were considered addicted to tanning.
"Most of the people on the beach know that sunlight causes skin cancer -- just like smokers know smoking causes lung disease and lung cancer. But they just can't stop," said Dr. Richard F. Wagner Jr., professor of dermatology at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
An addiction to tanning is not a new idea, most people probably know someone that can't stop baking themselves. In fact, there are three states that have age restrictions on tanning. In Texas you must be at least 13 years old, Illinois 14, and Wisconsin 16. My question is, how in the world do you enforce that? And WHO enforces this? Regular cops? Maybe a Tan-Squad? If they're repeat offenders, do you take away their cocoa butter?
Why are some people addicted to tanning? Some speculate it's another quest to look beautiful, as having a nice tan means you are healthy. Others believe that being in UV sunlight releases endorphins, which makes us feel happy. People then get addicted to that happy feeling, despite getting crispy burnt.
Researches are saying more needs to be done to say officially tanning can become addictive. Some scientists question the validity of the research. I believe the survey questions were pretty comprehensive. These beachgoers were asked questions like:
"Is tanning the first thought you have in the morning?"
"Do you try to cut down on tanning, but can't seem to do so?"
"Do you ever get annoyed when people tell you not to tan?"
"Do you ever feel guilty that you're in the sun too much?"
If you think you know someone that might be addicted to tanning, you should ask the above questions. Just to be sure, you also ask the following:
"Does your friend smell of aloe vera for more than 12 hours per day?"
"Does your friend prefer to have a hamburger 'well done' every single time?"
"Does watching pop tarts toast make your friend excitable?"
"Does your friend sport the 'Raccoon Look' from wearing sunglasses while tanning?"
"Could you fry an egg on your friend's chest?"
If you can answer "yes" to at least three of the additional five questions above, your friend could possibly be addicted to tanning. You must take drastic steps to intervene immediately, like locking them in a dark closet for 24 hours. You must break the cycle of tanning addiction, or else your friend could end up looking like this...
Does THIS look healthy to you?