Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Tanners May Be Lured by the "Feel-Good" Effects of UV Light


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.

“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.

| newswise
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>