It has been discovered that using sunbeds is just as addictive as drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
Researchers have found the ultraviolet light in sunbeds activates the reward switches in the brain and encourage people to seek a year-round tan.
They believe this explains why people ignore health warnings about skin cancer and premature ageing and continue to use sunbeds.
As a result the researchers have said similar to drug and alcohol addictions, some people might need medical help to stop.
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Dr. Bryon Adinoff, one of the researchers, said: “What this shows is that the brain is in fact responding to UV light and it responds in areas that are associated with reward.”
“These are areas that are activated when someone is administered a drug or a high-value food like sugar.”
The use of sunbeds and tanning salons has become incredibly popular in recent years.
Almost 30 million Americans use sunbeds every year and in the UK incidences of skin cancer have increased four-fold in the last 40 years.
“People are dying from this so it's a major public health problem,” Adinoff said.
“By clarifying the reasons (for addiction), we can start to look at whether medication for addiction could be useful for tanning.”
The findings will appear in the coming edition of the journal ‘Addiction Biology.’