Those who flock to tanning beds in the winter or to the pool during summer may have a gene connected to the addiction of tanning. While looking golden brown makes you feel sexy, there are people who have an addiction to tanning, just like to any other drugs. Feel that you are addicted to tanning? You may have this gene.
It's a fairly new idea that ultraviolet light can be addictive. But recent research has found that biology has something to do with the fact that people can develop a dependence to UV radiation, just like drugs or alcohol.
"It's probably a very small percentage of people who tan that become dependent," said study author Brenda Cartmel, a researcher at the Yale School of Public Health.
The real goal? To get people to be aware of skin cancer and cut out tanning, especially in tanning beds because more and more younger people are being diagnosed with skin cancer. In the United States, melanoma cancer has tripled since 1975 to about 23 cases per 100,000 people in 2011, according to government statistics.
Researchers examined saliva samples from 79 people with signs of a tanning addiction and 213 people who had tanned but did not have dependence.
One of the genes stood out in their research, PTCHD2. They suspect that tanning releases "feel-good" hormones that deliver endorphins, much like the way people feel when addicts use drugs. The act of tanning essentially is rewarded by the brain.
But how can you be sure that you’re addicted to tanning? Well, many of the test subjects had cravings to tan and even withdrawal symptoms. But, scientists believe it’s a rare gene and more research is needed.