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Correspondence
November 2005

Association of Frequent Indoor UV Tanning With Seasonal Affective Disorder

Arch Dermatol. 2005;141(11):1465. doi:10.1001/archderm.141.11.1465

There is growing evidence that artificial indoor tanning devices contribute to solar mutagenesis.1 We have spent the past 10 years developing strong theoretical models of intentional tanning behavior, including indoor UV tanning.2 However, we have found that “hard-core,” frequent indoor UV tanners (those who tan 40 or more times per year) are not well described by psychosocial variables such as peer pressure to conform to cosmetic ideals. We theorized that frequent indoor UV tanners may be influenced by affective factors such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is characterized by annual recurrent depressive episodes that change in accordance with the seasons.3 Bright light therapy is the most common treatment for SAD.4 Therefore, we thought it possible that some indoor UV tanners use tanning beds for their mood-enhancing effects.

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