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Tanorexia is the term often used to describe a condition in which a person participates in excessive outdoor sun tanning or excessive use of other skin tanning methods (such as tanning beds) to achieve a darker skin complexion because they perceive themselves as unacceptably pale.

Although the term "tanorexia" has been commonly used by the media and several doctors to describe the syndrome, both the word and syndrome have not been widely accepted by the medical community, and is considered a slang by many.

Serious cases of tanorexia can be considered dangerous because many of the more popular methods of tanning require prolonged exposure to UV radiation, which is known to be a cause of many negative side effects, including skin cancer.

Extreme instances may be an indication of Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a mental disorder in which one is extremely critical of his or her physique or self-image to an obsessive and compulsive degree. As it is with anorexia, a person with BDD is said to show signs of a characteristic called distorted body image.In other words , a sufferer of "tanorexia" may believe him or herself to have a much lighter--even a pale--complexion when he or she is actually quite dark-skinned.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

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