Tanning Beds---Addictive?

May 18, 2006 -- 6:15 PM CDT


JONESBORO, AR -- A new study shows that frequent tanners could become addicted to the ultra-violet rays, and the bronzed look is becoming popular everyday.


"I'm not surprised...I'm amazed at the percentage of people in the area who are tanning," said Dermatologist David Weingold.


Tanning Specialist Tina McMasters gets about 150 people into her tanning salon daily.


"We have some that come in everyday, and we have some that come in every other day," she said.


According to an article in "USA Today," doctors say that frequent users of tanning beds experience a "high" similar to drugs like heroin.


"There's only been one small study showing that sort of thing occurring, but basically, if they stop going and having withdrawl symptoms, that would imply that they're addicted," said Weingold.    


McMasters said that tanners don't think about addiction, they're just concerned with their physical appearance.


"A lot of people think alot about their appearance, and if they come in and tan, it makes them feel better about themselves, physically and mentally," she said.


Weingold said that tanning may look nice for a few days, but a few years from now, “it’s not nearly as attractive.”


"It's like smoking a cigarette," he said.  "You're doing something that's harmful to your body, and you just have to make up your mind, whether or not you believe it's worthwhile to take those risks for the temporary benefit."


Getting the bronzed look has consequences, and only time will tell if the UV rays were worth it.