Even with the risk of skin cancer looming over their heads, young women continue to use tanning beds in recent numbers. And get this, looking tan isn't their number one motivator for continuing the habit.
A recent survey conducted by the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center found that despite knowing the risks, young women continue to tan. Users were more interested in how it made them feel-using the time in the bed to help them to relieve stress and relax.
"We found that appearance is important, but we found that other factors to be equally or even more important," said Seth M. Noar, one of the study's co-author. "For instance, many of these young women reported really enjoying the experience of tanning indoors. They reported that it reduces stress and is relaxing to them. In the study, we called this factor 'mood enhancement'."
Another scary fact: In most U.S. cities there are more tanning parlors than the number of Starbucks or McDonald's.
The majority of tanning bed users are young, starting the habit in high school, according to the study. The younger the tanner, the more at risk. Indoor tanning before the age of 35 increases your risk of getting melanoma by 75 perfect. Each year more than 3.5 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer. More than 28 million people use tanning beds each year.
There have been lots of state legislatures pushing to ban tanning for those under 18 years old, including recent motions in Kansas and Colorado. According to USA Today, The American Medical Association, American Academy of Dermatology, American Academy of Pediatrics, the Skin Cancer Foundation and World Health Organization have all recommended that minors be barred from tanning salons.
Now if only there was a healthy way to relieve stress without the risk of cancer...namaste.