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Solo Health

Binge tanning alert!

First it was tanorexia, now it’s binge tanning. When it comes to the shining sun, it would appear we have a new disorder to contend with.
But before we go any further, let’s look at the facts. According to research carried out by Cancer Research UK, 36 per cent of 15 to 24-year-olds spend more than five hours a day in the sun. And 32 per cent of those polled said they would be happy to increase their time in the sun if they did not feel tanned enough towards the end of their holiday. Furthermore, 29 per cent would use sunscreen with a low factor to speed up their tanning while 19 per cent would be happy to go without sunscreen altogether and 15 per cent would use products like baby oil. Around one in five – 17 per cent – think sunburn is just part of the whole tanning process, while 11 per cent would be prepared to burn if they did not feel tanned enough towards the end of their holiday.
Meanwhile, according to Cancer Research UK dermatologist, Professor Lesley Rhodes, exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the primary cause of skin cancer and responsible for around 80 per cent of cases of melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer.
Just last year so-called ‘tanning addicts’ were found in a survey to be happy to risk permanent damage if it meant getting their ideal skin colour for the summer. And the term ‘tanorexia’ was coined to describe these people who put themselves at risk of skin cancer because of excessive tanning either outdoors or on sunbeds.
Here in Ireland we would be wise to take note of the bad press the sun has been getting. We’ve come a long way, of course, since the late ’80s when it was still socially acceptable to use cooking oil (Flora was the brand of choice) to speed up the tanning process. But even though we didn’t even have a chance to binge tan last summer, the recent spell of good weather could see us getting carried away now if we so desired. Perhaps the biggest danger in this country is the impulsive binge tanning that comes with the fear that the nice weather is only going to last one weekend anyway. It’s like we assume that the rain and clouds are on the way so we throw caution to the wind (or gentle breeze) when it is a bit tropical. Be warned, though. Apart from the obvious health risk, men who prance about shirtless under the blazing sun are only going to end up scalded, which can be particularly agonising. And women indulging in over-exposure are going to end up with multiple wrinkles. If the cancer warnings aren’t enough to keep you covered, appeal to your vanity or pain threshold instead – whatever it takes to stop with the binge tanning.


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  1. so true! i call the trend ‘strawberries and cream’ – that look where you are red on one side and paddy white on the other. it’s that fear of never seeing the sun again. i think we could seek compensation for it as a nation or something. 🙂

    Posted by iblogfashion | June 4, 2008, 4:50 pm