A “tanorexic” is someone who is addicted to tanning. It seems they never feel like their skin is dark enough. They spend a lot of time working on their tan outdoors and in tanning salons.
You’re right to be concerned about any friend who is putting their health at risk. You may want to talk to them about their behaviour. Here are some tips for an effective intervention:
- Show you care: Let them know that you’re bringing this up because you’re concerned about them – your intention is not to criticize or blame;
- Listen: Ask them about their reasons for tanning. Do they think it makes them look healthier? Do they do it as a way to hang out with friends? This will help you come up with helpful information or suggestions about why they should kick the tanning habit;
- Give the facts: Tell them what you know about the dangers of UV exposure. Base your argument on facts, not opinion or judgment;
- Offer resources: Encourage them to learn more by checking out the SunTips.ca website. It’s developed by the BC Cancer Agency’s Prevention Programs and Canadian Melanoma Foundation, and it gives factual, science-based information about sun damage and skin cancer;
- Put it in writing: If you’re not comfortable talking face-to-face with your friend about their tanning, you might want to write them a note instead;
- Make a date: Suggest fun things you can do with your friend that don’t involve frying your skin;
- Back off: Remember that the decision to tan is theirs alone – the best you can do is offer information and support.