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Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2010 Jun;7(6):13-7.

Excessive tanning: some psychopathological explanations.

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Dr. R. Sansone is a professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Internal Medicine at Wright State University School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio, and Director of Psychiatry Education at Kettering Medical Center in Kettering, Ohio.


Excessive tanning appears to be evident in about one quarter of regular sunbathers. Susceptible individuals are likely to be young Caucasians from Western societies. Despite ongoing education by the media to the public about the risks of excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation and the availability of potent sunscreens, there seems to be a concurrent proliferation of tanning facilities. What might be potential psychological explanations for excessive or pathological tanning? Psychopathological explanations may exist on both Axes I and II and include substance use, obsessive-compulsive, body dysmorphic, and borderline personality disorders. While there is no known treatment for pathological sunbathing, we discuss several treatment interventions from the literature that have been successfully used for the general public.


pathological tanning; sun tanning; sunbathing; tanning

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