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Have you ever noticed that you feel satisfied when you get tanned? There is no coincidence if your answer is “Yes”. If you are ready, let us discover the science behind this! 

When UV rays reach the skin, harmful consequences are induced in epidermal keratinocytes (skin cells) via a biochemical process where p53-mediated transcriptional induction of the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene occurs. After exposure to the sun, POMC gets split into two peptides which are known as α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) and β-endorphin. The presence of α-MSH prompts melanocytes to produce the pigment responsible for a sun-kissed complexion. On the flip side, β-endorphins function as organic painkillers, elevating endorphin levels in the bloodstream leading to happiness and pleasure and inducing sensations of bliss and pain alleviation. When that's the case, it becomes clear why people want to get a tan, and sometimes it can feel like you just can't get enough of it. It is like when you're in that sun and your skin starts to feel all warm and toasty, it is just so tempting to soak it all up. In other words, the pleasurable effects induced by β-endorphins can contribute to a desire for more tanning, or tanning addiction!

Therefore, just to remind you spending too much time under the sun or using indoor tanning beds can lead to wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and even skin cancer. It's important to take care of your skin by avoiding excessive UV exposure. If you're having a hard time quitting that sun-kissed look, there are other ways to achieve it without risking your skin's health. Let's talk about some options! Here there are some helpful suggestions for you:

Move your body: It is more than just breaking a sweat. It's like a mood-boosting magic trick. When you get your workout groove on, you're not just feeling good physically; those endorphins kick in and turn your mood up a notch. It's kinda quick happiness fix that comes with the bonus of keeping you fit. Give it a shot!

Trick yourself with a "Sunless Tanning Spray": To get a nice and healthy tan, there are plenty of options available to you. You can either go to a professional or try some at-home methods. Either way, you'll be able to achieve a natural-looking glow that will have you feeling confident and radiant. But just a friendly reminder that these sprays are not a replacement for your sun protection products. Keep your skin safe and healthy by using them in conjunction with your usual sunscreen routine.

Stay healthy: Looking after your body by eating nutritious food and drinking plenty of fluids can really boost your mood. It's a simple but effective way to take care of yourself!

Important fact: If you still want to get a tan, do it safely. It's best to avoid indoor tanning where the UV exposure is much stronger and can be harmful to your skin. Before heading outside, make sure to apply sunscreen all over and wear some cool shades to protect your eyes. Stay safe out there and have fun under the sun!

P.S. An interesting video suggestion:


Icons: Giphy and Freepik.

  1. Miller, K. A., Piombo, S. E., Cho, J., Higgins, S., Wysong, A., Sussman, S., Cockburn, M. G., & Leventhal, A. M. (2018). Prevalence of tanning addiction and behavioral health conditions among ethnically and racially diverse adolescents. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 138(7), 1511–1517.

  2. Nolan, B. V., Taylor, S. L., Liguori, A., & Feldman, S. R. (2009). Tanning as an addictive behavior: A literature review. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, 25(1), 12–19.

  3. Wikimedia Foundation. (2023, August 22). Tanning dependence. Wikipedia.

  4. Yale School of Medicine. (2017, March 17). Tanning dependence linked to other addictive behaviors, new study finds. Yale School of Public Health. 

  5. Fell, G. L., Robinson, K. C., Mao, J., Woolf, C. J., & Fisher, D. E. (2014). Skin β-endorphin mediates addiction to UV light. Cell, 157(7), 1527–1534.

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