Doing Life Together

tanI’ ve written several articles on the dangers of tanning to the skin, but now we may have additional concerns when it comes to mental health, especially the mental health of our teens.

The teenage years are marked with insecurity and a desire to fit in and be noticed. When it comes to appearance, teens are under major pressure to have the perfect body. Those who don’t feel they measure up often struggle with depression. Tanning is one way to try and boost appearance and mood despite the possible dangers to the skin. So one group of researchers decided to study teens and frequent tanning to see if there was a correlation between tanning and mood.

The conclusion of the study conducted on several high school students who excessively tan was that excessive indoor tanning habits are associated with depression and suicide attempts among teens.

Excessive tanning was defined as 40 or more sessions in a 12 month period. Specifically, the study noted that students who excessively tanned had more depressive symptoms and were more at risk for suicide attempt and ideations according to researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock. In other words, frequent tanning could be a marker of depression.

The investigators of the study felt that because of the increased risk of depression and suicide attempt, depression screenings could be helpful for students who excessively tan.  However, screening kids then needs to be followed up with treatment.

So parents pay attention to your teen’s tanning behavior. Frequent tanning could be used as a way to improve mood or appearance, but may indicate depression. And suicide is the leading cause of death among teens.



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