Tanorexia: in the dark, it becomes an obsession

The aspects of life in which human beings are prone to lose control of our actions and deceptively perceive themselves are as varied as our different cultures. Examples are anorexia, bulimia, or even orthorexia, but these episodes are not limited to food-related areas. Today there is also the tanorexia, A psychological condition in which the person looks excessively pale and goes to great lengths to try to sunbathe, ignoring or underestimating the costs that this can have.

As in the case of orthorexia, tanorexia is not a widely recognized theoretical construct in the scientific community, In part because of its novelty and the lack of studies focusing on this phenomenon. However, it can be understood as a type of culture-mediated addiction in which the person experiences a loss of control during the time they spend tanning or using alternative methods of tanning.

The cultural root of tanning addiction

Although some studies suggest that behind tanorexia are abnormal biochemical patterns that occur in the nervous and endocrine systems of those who suffer from this addiction, we need to talk about the cultural elements that make their existence possible. Tanorexia could hardly have existed in a historical context in which most of the population engaged in agriculture to barely survive and the canons of beauty tended towards pallor, but today the situation is very different.

Thus, the causes of the existence of tanorexia are partly argued in a change in these canons of beauty. In Western countries today, a good tan denotes youth and wealth, something desirable and worth exteriorizing.

The reasons could have something to do with the fact that today the poor population are generally employed for many hours in large industrial areas, sheltered from the sun, having replaced fields with factories. Therefore, the white population who has uniformly tanned skin 1 is the one who has time to go out to places of recreation during the daytime hours, go out on the beachShe is a swimmer or loves hiking and traveling.

In addition, in certain areas of the body, it is more difficult to detect wrinkles and skin imperfections when the skin has acquired a darker tone, which would make a tan a good ally in masking the signs of aging.

the risks

The dangers of tanorexia are obvious. Excessive sun exposure poses serious health risks to our skin and, by extension, other tissues in our body.. Ultraviolet radiation can cause cancer in some cases, but in almost all it equates to a deterioration in the quality of the skin over time.

In addition, as in any other addiction, tanorexia could affect cyclical habits that are poorly adaptive and generate stress and problems with social roots. In this way, a person could learn to try and reduce the high levels of anxiety caused by this problem by exposing themselves to more ultraviolet radiation, to the point where the habit completely escapes the person’s willful attempts to control the situation.

Symptoms of tanorexia

Some of the symptoms associated with tanning addiction are:

  1. State of emergency continuous linked to the degree of tanning retained.

  2. Anxiety related to how you perceive your own degree of tan.

  3. constant comparison between his own level of tan and that of others, whatever it is.

  4. People tend to perceive their skin to be much lighter than it is.

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