Experts explain why tanning is so addicting - New York News

Experts explain why tanning is so addicting

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) - On these spectacularly warm days, it's not hard to find sun-worshipers soaking up the warm radiant rays of summer.

But it turns out it could be more than just the look of a good tan that has us hooked.

A study by doctors from Harvard Medical School, published in the journal "Cell" found that exposure to UV rays in mice triggered the release of endorphins.

And according to Psychologist Dr. Nava Silton, those endorphins can affect our brain in the same way as some drugs. 

“It’s kind of a feel good hormone and it’s supposed to also prevent pain so we don’t feel as much pain when endorphins are racing through our body” Dr. Silton said.

The findings are not a shock to some sun lovers we spoke to.

“I don’t know if it’s the endorphins but I feel good” one man told us.

The study's authors say their findings could explain why incidents of skin-cancer keep rising with more than 75 thousand new cases last year, despite the fact that awareness and education about the harmful effects of sun exposure continue to proliferate.

Dr. Joshua Zeichner is a director of research in the dermatology department of Mount Sinai and he says the new data will change how he counsels his patients.

“I actually may talk to them more as addicts than just educating them on the harmful effects of long term UV exposure” Dr. Zeichner said.

He also says the study counters a popular myth that people seek the sun because they crave vitamin D.

“Many people go out because they want to get vitamin D and they think being exposed to the sun is a safe way to do it and that’s not true, there's no safe way to tan and the best way to get your vitamin D is through a healthy diet and supplementation.”



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