Tanorexia, a behavioral disorder, is very common. The population that suffers most from it are women between ages 17 and 35.
While the term in English is recognized in the Oxford and Merriam-Webster dictionaries, its equivalent is not included in the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE, Spanish acronym). The Foundation of Emerging Spanish (Fundéu BBVA, in Spanish) acknowledged it in 2009, however, as a neologism based on the false suffix “-orexia,” meaning an exaggerated concern for one’s physical appearance.
According to figures from the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, tanorexia (more commonly known as “tanning dependence”) is common in young women and in women who are concerned about their physical looks.
Javier Jesús Domínguez, a dermatologist from the Virgen del Rocío de Sevilla Hospital, explained to the EFE news agency that people that have this “minor mental imbalance,” suffer from body dysmorphic disorder, the misperception that something is wrong with one’s body image. Related article: Why is it important to protect yourself from the sun?
Sometimes, tanning dependence can come with other types of disorders such as anxiety or depression, Domínguez adds. (Related article: Be cautious both before and after sun exposure).
Skin damage from tanning dependence. Some of the risks that come with getting too much sun include sun spots, loss of skin elasticity and premature aging of the skin; the most severe, however, is the increased risk for skin cancer.