Looking Into The Mind Of A Perpetual Tanner

Hop, Skip & Tan – Not Really - Seems The Tanning Tendencies Burn Much Deeper Than The Carefree Surface Bronze Indulgence.

Sun and skin cancer risk awareness educational campaigns have been active for years, yet we still see a good number of people tanned and carrying on with their sun-kissed lives, as if they are bronzed titanium, cancer & death proof or oblivious. Their devil-may-care, living on the edge attitude has engaged researchers to investigate what’s going on behind that charred and crisped skin mentality.

New research into the matter suggests that underlying psychiatric distress, including anxiety disorders and substance abuse, may explain why some individuals continue to tan even after experiencing serious negative consequences, such as skin cancer as well as accelerated aging.

Recently a study of more than 500 college students who tan showed that 31% met the criteria for tanning dependence and 12% met the criteria for problematic tanning. Both tanning classifications were significantly associated with scoring positive on measures of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). In addition, tanning dependence was significantly linked to hazardous drinking and drug abuse.

“It's possible that some OCD and BDD symptoms may be driving some of the excessive tanning," the lead author Lisham Ashrafioun, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, recently told Medscape Medical News. "But the results also make the argument that there seems to be something else going on besides those 2 disorders. And it could be that there's also an addiction piece to it," he added.

Overall, co-investigator Erin Bonar, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Addiction Research Center in Ann Arbor, noted in a release that although more research is needed, the findings suggest that some young adults who tan excessively experience mental health symptoms that warrant further clinical evaluation. For these people, prevention messages and public health campaigns may not be as helpful, but further assessment and treatment could be the answer.

Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical center suggest tanning beds may be addictive, causing the same type of brain activity seen in addicts. Indoor tanning may have a rewarding effect on the brain that compels users to continue. The conclusion came from blood flow studies of the brain in response to tanning bed exposure, which were conducted by the UT researchers.
For the study, participants were given a contract material intravenously. They were either really tanning or in a bed that had filters to block UV in two sessions. Before and after each tanning session, they were asked how much they felt like tanning.
The researchers saw changes in blood flow to the brain, linked to reward and pleasure, which is similar to that seen in addiction.

From all this data it is clear that “one message can’t fit all”, although tanning is a known risk for skin cancer, there is a psychological and cultural disconnect between the risk and the desire for a 'healthy glow.’ We need to understand the psyche of the tanning connoisseurs and focus on more individualized campaigns to take into account the OCD, BDD and addiction aspects of tanning.


Combating Dry Skin With Oral Supplementation

Plagued with dry, itchy, flaky and unsightly skin? Don't hide it under long sleeves and pants - Replenish it from inside out. Dry skin can result from numerous factors, including genetics, some skin diseases (diabetes, psoriasis eczema etc.), hormonal imbalance, vitamin deficiencies, poor hygiene coupled with use of harsh chemical loaded skincare, and harsh envoirmental conditions including excessive sun exposure.

A study by the Institute of Experimental Dermatology, in Germany revealed in 2008 that women who took flaxseed- or borage-oil supplements (2.2 grams a day) for 12 weeks experienced a significant increase in skin moisture and a reduction in skin roughness. A healthy diet with three to five servings a week of fatty acids can suffice to pertain moisture to an average person's skin.

If you suffer from very dry skin or eczema, consider flaxseed, evening-primrose, or borage-oil supplements. All are good sources of alpha or gamma linolenic fatty acids. Here’s a brief review of some supplements and food groups that can help keep your skin at it’s optimal.

Gamma-linolenic Acids
Gamma-linolenic acids, or GLAs, are essential fatty acids that help the body produce prostaglandins; hormone-like substances that support numerous body functions. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, GLAs are good nutrients to maintain supple skin. GLAs can be reaped from evening primrose oil, borage oil and black currant oil.

Fish Oil
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acid; healthy fats known to reduce inflammation and support cardiovascular health and brain function. Fish oil intake also helps alleviate dry skin. Sufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids can be acquired by eating fatty fish, such as wild salmon, albacore tuna, herring or sardines, at least twice weekly, or from fish oil dietary supplements. People who do not consume fish can reap similar benefits from ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts, walnut oil and canola oil. Omega-3 fatty acids supplements made from plant-based sources are also available.

Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble nutrient that supports enzyme production, metabolism and transport of oxygen throughout the body. Sufficient vitamin B6 intake also helps prevent skin conditions, including those that cause dry cracks around the mouth, according to the American Skin Association. Valuable food sources of vitamin B6 include potatoes with skin, bananas, garbanzo beans, chicken breast, oatmeal, pork oil, roast beef, sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, vitamin-fortified cereals and rainbow trout. Dietary supplements are available for people with vitamin B6 deficiency.

Other Vitamins
The American Skin Association lists other vitamins that may help improve skin hydration. These vitamins include vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin C and vitamin D. A healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables such as carrots, oranges and leafy green vegetables will increase your intake of these nutrients.


Youth Responds To Vanity Rather Than Health - The Sunscreen Message

Sun Protection, Sunblock
Our youth might be more vain than we perceive, as it’s been shown by an educational message video study where an appearance related message resulted in behavioral modification more effectively than a health-based video while promoting sunscreen use among high school viewers.

Studying youth influence patterns to promote health messages department of dermatology, University of Colorado at Denver, conducted a study where they studied 50 high school students (mean age, 17.2 years) in a randomized control trial between February and March 2012. Twenty-five students (76% females) viewed an appearance-based video on ultraviolet induced premature aging, while the others (84% female) viewed a health-based video on UV exposure and skin cancer risk. Both videos were approximately 5 minutes long and viewed in a group setting. Researchers asked the students questions about sunscreen application use at baseline and at 6-week follow-up.

Sunscreen use increased slightly (0.9 ± 1.9 days/week; P=.096) in the students who viewed the health-based video compared with a larger increase (2.8 ± 2.2 days/week; P<.001) among students who watched the appearance-based video. Sunscreen was applied at a greater frequency in the appearance-based cohort (2.2 ± 1.4) compared with the health-based students (0.2 ± 0.6; P<.001). Both groups had significantly improved sunscreen knowledge scores, and at 6 weeks the difference in improvements was nearly equal.

The study was limited in that it focused on adolescents, and it might not be generalized to the universal population, as the researchers have reported. “Our study also demonstrates that appearance-based education can be effectively delivered by video. Researchers also concluded, “In contrast to appearance-based interventions using resource-intensive methods, such as UV photography, video education can be easily and widely disseminated to influence behavior.”

One message that came out loud and clear through this scientific exercise is that appearance-based messaging may be superior to traditional health-based messages in promoting sun-protection behaviors. 


Are Blackheads Ringing Your Beauty Alarm Bells?

Blackheads, comedones

Blackhead - The mere utterance of the word sends shudders down any beautista’s spine who craves clear radiant skin. Not surprisingly, a sprinkle of blackheads across the nose and cheeks is declared beauty emergency. Blackheads, or comedones as they’re known medically, occur when a pore becomes blocked with dead skin cells and sebum. When they’re exposed to the air, they oxidize and take on their dark color, hence the name “blackhead”. They can affect any type of skin but more commonly occur in people with oily skin. When blackheads are left without treatment, they can grow larger and darker, causing the pore to expand with it.
It’s about time you discovered the most effective ways of getting rid of these annoying skin imperfections and device a plan to prevent further outbreaks.

Squeaky Clean
A proper cleansing routine is the first and most essential step in blackhead prevention. Using a salicylic acid-based cleanser both morning and evening will help to break down debris within the pores, treating existing comedones and preventing the appearance of new ones.

Pore Toned To Perfection
Try using an alcohol-free toner that contains tea tree oil or salicylic acid. Not only will it remove any traces of impurities, it’s anti-microbial and anti-bacterial action will help to close pores and prevent future outbreaks.

Optimally Primed With Exfoliation
Use a fine-grained exfoliating scrub twice a week to smooth the skin and get rid of surface cells that could block pores. Manual exfoliation is key in the prevention process.

Hydration The Life Force Of Good Skin
Even if you suffer from an oily complexion, moisturizing is necessary in keeping skin healthy. Use an oil-free moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid for deep hydration and an oil-free sunscreen with an SPF 50 to keep skin hydrated and protected to perfection.

Mask Of Beauty
Sulfur or clay-based masks work to draw out the congestion, absorb oil, and tighten pores. Apply the mask once or twice a week to make the most of its pore de-clogging and refining benefits.