Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Frequent Tanners May Be Lured By The 'Feel-Good' Effects Of UV Light

Date:
July 7, 2004
Source:
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
Frequent tanning bed users may be getting more out of the experience than darker skin. Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center say exposure to ultraviolet light may produce a "relaxing" effect that lures tanners back to the beds.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Frequent tanning bed users may be getting more out of the experience than darker skin. Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center say exposure to ultraviolet light may produce a "relaxing" effect that lures tanners back to the beds.

Related Articles


"We believe that ultraviolet light has an effect on mood that tanners value," said Steven Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., lead researcher. "This may be creating a reinforcing effect that influences tanning behavior."

The research – involving 14 young adults who regularly used tanning beds –is reported in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, which is now available on-line. For six weeks, study participants had tanning sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays in two identical-looking tanning beds. They spend half of each session in one bed and half in the other. There was a key difference in the beds, however – only one used ultraviolet light (UV).

UV light occurs naturally in sunlight and is responsible for the tanning and burning effects of the sun. Artificial UV light is used in tanning beds and sunlamps.

Mood was measured before and after each tanning exposure. The results revealed greater relaxation and lower tension after UV exposure compared to non-UV exposure. The researchers theorize that UV exposure leads to the release of chemicals in the brain called endorphins that are linked to both pain relief and euphoric feelings.

"A more relaxed and less tense mood was reported after UV exposure compared to after non-UV exposure," said Feldman. "We believe these relaxing and reinforcing effects contribute to tanning behavior and may help explain why people choose to tan despite the risks."

During the six-week study, participants had the option of additional tanning on Fridays in either of the beds. Twelve of the subjects chose additional tanning – and for 95 percent of the sessions they chose the UV bed.

"There are probably many factors that influence the choice to tan frequently," said Feldman, a professor of dermatology. "But we found that when subjects are offered tanning beds that differ only in the presence or absence of UV light, they choose the bed with UV light. Moreover, the choice of UV is associated with a sense of greater relaxation."

Feldman said the finding is significant because, like other risky behaviors, it is important to understand why frequent tanners choose the activity. Exposure to UV through tanning has been shown to damage the genetic information in cells and is linked to the development of skin cancer. Despite this, there was a 300 percent increase in the number of indoor tanners in the United States between 1986 and 1996.

Most research into the motives for excessive tanning has focused on effects such as appearance. However, there is some previous evidence supporting a relaxation effect. Laboratory studies have shown a release of endorphins in response to ultraviolet light exposure. And, a survey of college students showed that relaxation was one of the most common reasons identified for tanning.

"Since we didn't measure endorphins, we don't know for sure that these substances are responsible for the phenomenon," said Feldman. "But, our findings suggest a course for future research into why people use tanning beds and the mechanism of mood changes associated with tanning."

The research was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health.

Feldman's co-researchers were Anthony Liguori, Ph.D., Michael Kucenic, M.D., Stephen Rapp, Ph.D., Alan Fleischer Jr., M.D., Wei Lang, Ph.D., and Mandeep Kaur, M.D., all with Wake Forest Baptist.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Frequent Tanners May Be Lured By The 'Feel-Good' Effects Of UV Light." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040707091722.htm>.
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. (2004, July 7). Frequent Tanners May Be Lured By The 'Feel-Good' Effects Of UV Light. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040707091722.htm
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Frequent Tanners May Be Lured By The 'Feel-Good' Effects Of UV Light." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040707091722.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins