While indoor tanning increases the risk of developing skin cancer—according to AIM at Melanoma Foundation, using indoor tanning beds before age 35 can increase your chances of developing melanoma by 59 percent—a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology states that indoor tanning in early life is also associated with anxiety depression later in life.
In the study, researchers found that when compared to women who have never tanned in a bed, women who participated in indoor tanning one to two times per year, three to 11 times per year, and 12 or more times per year had an 18 percent, 31 percent, and 46 percent increased risk for developing depression, respectively.
The study also found that the risk of developing anxiety was higher among women who tanned three or more times per year in early life compared to women who never tanned. Women who participated in indoor tanning more frequently also consumed more cigarettes, alcohol and caffeine, notes the study.
“Indoor tanning is not safe, and our research shows that it is also linked to other addictive, unhealthy behaviors,” says conductor of the study Boston dermatologist Erin Wei, MD according to a release. “We know that ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning triggers the production of beta-endorphins, which can relieve pain and improve mood, but the consequences of indoor tanning do not outweigh the risks. We want people who continue to indoor tan to stop this dangerous behavior and talk with their doctors about healthy strategies to look and feel better.”