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Are Your Clients Addicted to Indoor Tanning? With Exclusive Commentary About How to Wean Clients From Unhealthy Tanning Behaviors

Posted: September 6, 2011

Terri Wojak, director of True University Esthetics, provides exclusive commentary to about how you can help wean clients off of indoor tanning by offering them more healthy options.

Frequent indoor tanners may exhibit brain changes that are similar to those seen among people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, according to a new study that adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that indoor tanning may be addictive.

Close to 30 million Americans visit indoor tanning salons each year despite the well-publicized risks of skin cancer associated with this practice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now considering a ban on indoor tanning for people under 18 and the American Academy of Pediatrics is on record that it supports this legislation.

The new findings, released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the journal Addiction Biology, suggest that indoor tanning taps into the brain's "reward center."

"We saw brain changes that are consistent with that of other things that are considered rewarding such as money, food or drugs," explained study author Bryon Adinoff, MD, a professor of psychiatry at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. "The same areas of the brain lit up, and we know that if something is rewarding to the brain, there is the potential for addiction."