Tanning addicts more likely to be dependent on alcohol

Those who exhibit tanning dependence are six times as likely to be dependent on alcohol and five times as likely to be addicted to exercise

Tanning addicts, including sunbathers and sunbed users who exhibit signs of dependency, are likely to exhibit other addictive behaviours, a new study has found.

The Yale School of Public Health study, published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, found that out of 499 sunbathers and sunbed users, those that exhibited tanning dependency were six times as likely to also be dependent on alcohol.

Tanning addicts were also five times as likely to exhibit ‘exercise addiction’ and three times as likely to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Brenda Cartmel, lead author and Senior Research Scientist and Lecturer at the Yale School of Public Health Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, said: “We hope our findings will help researches design interventions specifically targeted to help people who are tanning dependent and thus reduce skin cancers.”

She added: “People who are tanning dependent could also be assessed for SAD. There are ways of addressing SAD other than indoor tanning.

“Regarding the alcohol dependence association, it may be possible that addressing that behaviour could help address tanning dependence."

Talking about the link to exercise addiction, Cartmel said: “One hypothesis behind the finding is that people who exercise excessively do so because they are very aware of their appearance, and they also feel that being tanned improves their appearance.

“Or it may be that we will eventually find out that these individuals have more of an addictive or risk-taking personality type. If you have one type of dependence, you may be more likely to have another addiction.”