W4 Activity: I’m Addicted to Tanning

W4 Activity: I’m Addicted to Tanning

The issues with those who use tanning beds and the long term medical issues that it causes are not really thought about by the users of said services. Also the cost to use them is also a large expense that can cause a financial strain to the user and their families. Looking at the big picture the trauma that is caused to your skin cells and the long term effect to the body for the exchange of looking tan is never discussed until it’s too late. The warning that your skin will turn to leather is never mentioned. The cost can be more expensive than smoking or drinking. As quoted below from the Skin cancer foundation. Studies showing a link between UV radiation from indoor tanning devices and melanomas of the skin and eyes. Melanoma will kill an estimated 8,650 people in the US this year alone. And melanoma isn’t the only problem: people who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma kills an estimated 2,500 Americans a year.

Between the two subjects used in the video neither sees that big picture and the problems that are in store for them. The need for the perfect tone out weights the overall damage to their bodies and the families that they are destroying. The warnings that are put on most things that are bad for you aren’t utilized as they should be, the age requirements for tanning and the need for better education of said issues is needed. Also a better system of identifying the warning signs of the side effects of tanning to help those who tan prevent damage to their bodies is needed and should be required.

6 thoughts on “W4 Activity: I’m Addicted to Tanning

  1. Hello Paul, I selected your post because I have always found strange addictions like tanning interesting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmgLv7VGLQc

    The clip I selected depicts a woman with an addiction to tanning who, I am sure, reflects the subjects in your MTV episode. She has insecurities about her appearance, which existed before she began to tan, and she now continues to tan despite all the warnings she receives.

    The doctor in my clip mentions that there are often underlying mental conditions that occur alongside an addiction like tanning. Both depression and obsessive-compulsive tendencies contribute to the desire to tan and the relief tanning provides to the respective addict. This also explains why integrated treatment is best for addicts because it targets the addiction and underling mental conditions simultaneously.

    The woman in my clip also demonstrates how culture can influence addictions. In the United States self-image is very imperative for acceptance. For a tanning addict, the process of tanning provides relief because it is used to maintain that individual’s ideal image. Unfortunately, no matter how much that individual tans they still believe they are pale which explains their skewed self-image despite their indulgence. Tanning is an outlet to maintain our society’s high standards for beauty which demonstrates how culture influences behavior, no matter how dangerous it is. Great post this week – Samantha

    “Tanorexic – I’m Addicted To Tanning,” YouTube, accessed June 13, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmgLv7VGLQc

  2. Hi Paul,

    I picked your post because I have actually been accused by friends of being a tanning addict. I have seasonal affective disorder, SAD, which onsets in the winter months. It is basically that with a decreased amount of sun exposure I essentially get depressed and incredibly sluggish, with minimal motivation. To help counteract SAD, during the winter months I go to the tanning at least four times a week. The tanning company I go to makes an effort to make sure that each of the beds have a tag on them identifying the recommended time of tanning, the frequency of tanning, and risk of cancer (over time some of these have worn off a bit). I’m not sure if it is under Michigan law or policy of the tanning salon but you can only tan once a day.

    I found a clip from an ABC News story on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIWSbFNsl2A, which shared the story of two young ladies in their twenties that refuse to give up tanning despite the health risks. One of girls has tanned every single day for over ten years straight, taking minimal precautionary measurements, and occasionally tanning more than once a day at a salon in addition to spending hours in the sun. When asked about her concern of getting skin cancer, she laughed and remarked to just scratch it off and get back in the bed. The other girl was a bit milder in her tanning habits. She tanned three times a week and used sunscreen. Both admit that having tan skin makes them feel better about themselves. I feel like the experiences of these girls are very similar to the individuals in the TRUELIFE episode you watched. Both know of the health risks and do not care. They feel that the benefit of self-confidence they get outweighs the health risks. Neither felt as though there was too much of a financial output in order to achieve their “perfect tan”.

    ABC News, Woman Has Tanned Every Day for 10 Years: Tanning Addicts Risk Health Problems, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIWSbFNsl2A. Accessed June 14, 2015.

  3. Hello Paul,

    I recently have become very interested in the problems that arise in people who expose themselves to UV-rays and excessively tan, which is why I found your post to be very intriguing. I also used to tan in tanning beds, until I saw more and more articles shining light on melanoma. I found a similar mini-documentary video called “Tanorexic – I’m Addicted to Tanning” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmgLv7VGLQc). The subject in this expose, named Sarah Willman, tans five or more times a week and has for years. Her husband explains that people often confuse her for being African American because of how dark her complexion has gotten due to tanning so frequently. It is discussed, very much like in your episode, the dangerous consequences that tanning can result in. The family strain placed upon Willman’s children, husband and mother are examined and they comment that each one of them are afraid to confront Sarah about her addiction. This compares directly to the two subjects you mention in True Life: I’m Addicted to Tanning. They ignore the consequences because the desire to be dark outweighs any rational fear. The factor behind Sarah’s addiction can be linked to her time in college and the positive or just general attention her dark, self-described, “barbie” look gave her. Sarah’s interaction with her peers dictated what she felt was her ideal self and her attempts to maintain herself are directly related to the desire to remain dark to fit her ideal image. This is a dangerous mental affliction, which the expose likens to obsessive compulsive disorder.

    “Tanorexic – I’m Addicted to Tanning”, Youtube, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmgLv7VGLQc). Accessed June 14, 2015.

  4. I think this is a really interesting issue. Tanning addictions can lead to many health problems typically cancers, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, it exposes the body to unnecessary radiation. That increases the risk of all cancers. Tanning addicts are addicted to the appearance they have after a fresh tan. That keeps them going back. They are addicted to having a perfect tan, and the moment it fades they go back. Usually this compulsion is caused by mental illness. People don’t really take this seriously at all which can be disheartening to anyone suffering from this problem. The negative effects of the disease aren’t usually felt immediately.

  5. Hello Paul,
    I chose to comment on your post because the subject manner just seems very unusual. I never thought that a person could be addicted to something like tanning. I found a similar video to the one that you watched. It had a younger woman who just could not break her cycle of visiting the tanning salon. It seems like the all the individuals that suffer from this issue are going through about the same
    experience. The difference is that the girl in the video that I selected wants to quit and knows that she is harming herself and it seems as if the two women from your video do not. Both videos have worried family members that wish for the safety of their loved ones because they know of the risk for things like skin cancer when a person takes part in activities such as these. I think that culture and gender really affected the three women in these videos. We live in a culture where women are supposed to value their beauty and a nice complexion can contribute to this feeling of beauty. The girl in my video even references her “Barbie doll” image. In general both of our videos outline the addiction process that takes place when one is addicted to tanning in a unnatural fashion.

    Tanorexic: I’m addicted to tanning. Youtube. Accessed: 06/13/15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmgLv7VGLQc

  6. Hello! I found this post very informative and it is shocking so see what the long-term effects of tanning can do to a person’s health. I chose the narrative of Laura May McMullan, a contributor of the BBC Inside Out program on Tanning addiction. For Laura, her past tanning experience in the youth lead to skin cancer later on in life and although she was able to fight, she has regrets. Although she does not remember the exact trigger of her tanning, she notes that she always felt pale and that she enjoyed the sensation of being in the sunbeds and having the knowledge that serotonin was being released. Tanning became a part of her and it was not just about finding the right shade but the experience of getting the tan that took over.

    What is interesting is that in Laura’s case is that she realized that the tanning was not helping her health 12 year before her diagnosis and the influence of appearance that swayed her before was now being damage well.


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