Tanorexia: addicted to sun and solarium

Regular sunbathing, whether outdoors or in the solarium, is not only extremely harmful to the skin, it can also be addictive. Dermatologists speak in this context of Tanorexie (tanning addiction). Like all addicts, so-called "Tanorexiker" have typical withdrawal symptoms such as nervousness, restlessness, sleep disorders or even depression, if they do not tan their skin once. Only by the exaggerated enjoyment of natural or artificial sunlight they feel good. Only then do they come closer to their ideal of beauty from a crisp tanned body.

What does Tanorexia mean?

The term "Tanorexia" is composed of the English verb "to tan" (browning) and the medical term "anorexia nervosa", anorexia. However, the body weight for sun and solarium addicts plays less of a role. Their ideal of beauty corresponds primarily to a crisp tanned body.

But as with anorexia, the self-perception of those affected is noticeably disturbed. Thus, many Tanorexiker perceive as pale and thus unattractive, although their skin is already over-browned. All self-esteem is solely dependent on the body tan. The excessive desire for sun or artificial UV light attracts visitors every week, some even daily to the tanning salon.

Why are we becoming addicted to brown skin?

Sunlight promotes vitamin D formation and release of happiness hormones in our body. That's why we feel good when the first rays of sunshine touch us in spring. But this is exactly where the danger lies: If you get too much sun, you can easily get sunburn and expose yourself to premature skin aging. In addition, the risk of developing skin cancer is increasing rapidly.

"Vorbräunen" in the solarium not possible

Anyone who believes that they can prepare their skin for an aggressive holiday sun in the solarium is wrong, because sunbathing on the sunbed takes place via UVA rays. Even if the skin in the tanning bed is pre-tanned, the skin tanned under UVA radiation later provides no protection against the dangerous UVB rays of the sun.

On the contrary, anyone who tans themselves in the solarium causes their skin to age faster and promotes the development of brown pigmentation. Occasionally, pigment spots are risk factors, as they can become cancerous when exposed to UV light and cause skin cancer.

People with more than 40 pigment marks or atypical pigment marks are at up to 7 to 15 times more likely to develop malignant melanoma (black skin cancer). Sunburns in childhood and adolescence increase the risk two to three times.

But skin cancer is curable if it is detected early enough. That is why it is also important for shade lovers to have their dermatologist examine the pigmented spots once or twice a year.

Tips for the right tanning

Consider the following tips for healthy tanning:

  1. How long you can stay in the sun, without getting a sunburn, depends on the respective self-protection time of the skin. For example, bright skin types can bathe in the sun for a maximum of five to ten minutes, unprotected.
  2. Always cream your skin well! The sunscreen should have a protection factor of at least 20. Even then, the protection will last for a maximum of 1.5 to 3 hours. Then you should definitely seek a place in the shade.
  3. Those who do not want to give up the tanning bed should first inform themselves about the tanning salon of their choice. Pay attention to an integrated protective function in the tanning device. This should be able to switch off automatically at maximum irradiation time.
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