Dermatologists may need to team with psychologists; patient education isn’t enough.
It seems that indoor tanning may be an addiction among college students participating in a study published in Archives of Dermatology and supported by the National Cancer Institute. The results also suggest a relation to anxiety, depression, and substance use among the participants.
There are several healthcare issues of interest to dermatology marketing professionals. Of course there is the long-standing association between tanning (indoor or outdoor) and increased rates of skin cancers.
In this study some individuals—over 30 percent—crave the indoor tanning experience to the degree that it qualifies as an addiction. And among students who met DSM-IV-TR and CAGE criteria for addiction to indoor tanning reported greater symptoms of anxiety and greater use of alcohol, marijuana, and other substances than others.
The further insight for dermatology marketing is the indication that being informed of the risk did not change the addictive behavior. Nearly all of the tanning addicts (98 percent) thought indoor tanning can cause skin cancer.
According to the researchers: “If associations between affective factors and indoor tanning behavior are replicated, results suggest that treating an underlying mood disorder may be a necessary step in reducing skin cancer risk among those who frequently tan indoors.”
ABSTRACT: Archives of Dermatology; Mosher C, et al “Addiction to indoor tanning: Relation to anxiety, depression, and substance use” Arch Dermatol 2010; 146: 412-17.