Rather then going to tanning salons to get that bronze complexion, researchers found that tanners might be going for the relaxing effects produced by the ultraviolet light (UV) given off by tanning beds. Researchers said that these pleasurable feelings derived from the UV light might explain the repeat behavior of tanning bed visitors.
A Study on Teenagers Frequenting Tanning Beds
Participants included 14 young adults who partook in two tanning sessions a week for a six-week duration
The sessions consisted of two identical-looking tanning beds
The participants split their sessions in half between the two beds, one contained UV light, the other did not
The moods of the participants were evaluated at the beginning and then at the end of each tanning session
Results of the Study
The participants who used the tanning beds with the UV light reported they felt more relaxed and at ease than those who weren't exposed to the UV light
When presented with the option of extended tanning bed visits, 12 of the participants opted to continue their sessions and chose the bed with the UV light for 95 percent of their sessions
Researchers found the UV light that people are exposed to while tanning causes harmful consequences such as damage to the genetic information in the cells and could possibly increase the likelihood of skin cancer. Despite these findings, the number of people visiting tanning beds has jumped 300 percent in the United States between 1986-96.
Researchers came up with the theory that tanners continue with their risky behaviors to get the euphoric feeling produced by the UV light from the tanning beds. This was the main reason college students cited for their frequent visits to tanning beds.
Eurek Alert July 6, 2004