Review of Interventions to Reduce Ultraviolet Tanning: Need for Treatments Targeting Excessive Tanning, an Emerging Addictive Behavior

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Abstract

Millions of Americans engage in tanning each year, defined as intentional ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure in the form of sunbathing or the use of indoor tanning beds. An emerging body of research suggests that UVR has addictive properties and some tanners engage in excessive tanning. This article provides an overview of the evidence of tanning addiction and a systematic review of existing tanning interventions with the goal of evaluating their potential to impact addicted tanners. Our search identified 24 intervention studies that were summarized and discussed according to 3 primary themes. First, there is a dearth of tanning interventions that target excessive tanning or are designed as treatments for tanning addiction. Second, tanning interventions are primarily educational interventions designed to increase knowledge of the risks of tanning. Third, there are notable aspects of existing tanning interventions that are relevant to addiction science, including the use of brief motivational and cognitive–behavioral-based interventions. Future directions are considered including recommendations for utilizing the existing evidence base to formulate interventions targeting excessive tanners.

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