Frequent tanners may be addicted

May 16, 2006

People who are hooked on frequent tanning may really be addicted, Wake Forest University researchers say.

The North Carolina researchers said there are three signs of a tanning addition: people are unable to stop getting tans, they awake each day with tanning on their mind and they are irritated by people who say they have a problem.

Half of frequent tanners questioned suffered withdrawal when given a drug to block pleasing sensations that go with tanning beds. In addition, all of the frequent tanners unknowingly gravitated to tanning beds that emitted ultraviolet rays.

The tanning "high" may be as addictive as heroin, the study concludes.

"Their skin looks terrible: It's all loose, and wrinkled, and mottled-colored and leathery looking," researcher Steven Feldman told ABC News.

"You ask these people, 'Why are you doing this to yourself?' and they say, 'Ahh, it makes me feel so good,' " Feldman said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: More than a third of New Jersey teens who engage in indoor tanning do so frequently, study finds

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