Researchers from University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have said yes, it is possible to get addicted to having a tanned look . The research result was published online in the Archives of Dermatology.
Studies show that many of those who regularly tan know that exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun or a tanning booth increases their risk of developing skin cancer. But — much to the dismay of dermatologists, who have spent years trying to educate the public on the skin-cancer dangers of ultraviolet radiation — this knowledge doesn't seem to have much effect on their behavior, and the incidence of skin cancer continues to rise.
Researchers have found evidence that could explain why people continue to sunbathe and patronize tanning salons despite being aware that the practice is dangerous. Using criteria adapted from those used to screen for alcoholism and drug dependency, they've determined that repetitive tanning behavior may be the product of a kind of addiction.
Dermatologists often talk about people who seem 'addicted to the sun' — people who know it's not good for them to be bronzed all the time, but don't seem to be able to stop tanning, said the researchers.
Researchers had asked 145 beachgoers a series of questions such as, "Do you try to cut down on the time you spend in the sun, but find yourself still sun tanning?" and, "Do you think you need to spend more and more time in the sun to maintain your perfect tan?"
Under criteria adapted from the alcoholism-screening questionnaire (known as the CAGE, an acronym for Cut down, Annoyed, Guilty, Eye-opener), 26 percent of those interviewed were classified as "ultraviolet light (UVL) tanning dependent." The DSM-IV criteria indicated an even greater proportion of beachgoers with UVL tanning dependence — 53 percent.