Seattle — A new study says some young people may be addicted to ultra-violet light such as that emitted by tanning beds, reports news source Newswise.
The study, which looked at tanning behavior among undergraduate college students, was conducted by a University of Washington research team and appeared in the March issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Researchers asked 385 male and female University of Washington students to complete a multiple-choice questionnaire that included questions about their personal tanning practices and those of their family and friends.
Of the students who participated in the study, 76 percent of females reported purposely tanning their skin, while 59 percent of male participants reported the same. In addition, 42 percent of the female students reported using indoor tanning devices, as compared with only 17 percent of the male participants.
The study notes that while a known family history of skin cancer is a risk factor for developing future skin cancers, participants who reported a family history of skin cancer were significantly more likely to engage in tanning than those students without a known family history of skin cancer. Of the students with a positive family history of skin cancer, 77 percent purposely tanned their skin outdoors and 45 percent used indoor tanning devices. This result, say the researchers, implies that even a personal experience with skin cancer may fail to alter tanning behavior among young people.
The study adds that 41 percent of the students who tan reported doing so to relax, which is a strong motivating factor that has been noted by numerous studies examining tanning behaviors and is consistent with other addictive practices.