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Tanning addicts are six times more likely to be dependent on alcohol and five times as likely to be addicted to exercise a new study has found.

The Yale School of Public Health report found that out of 499 sunbathers and sunbed users, those that exhibited reliance were more likely to be addicted to alcohol and exercise and suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, Brenda Cartmel, lead author and Senior Research Scientist and Lecturer at the Yale School of Public Health Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology told Cosmetic Business that she hopes the findings will help researchers design interventions specifically targeted to help people who are tanning obsessed in an effort to reduce skin cancers.

“People who are tanning dependent could also be assessed for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). 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.”

Cartmel also commented on the link to exercise addiction, saying, “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.”

Cartmel also noted that the relation between tanning and excessive exercise is likely a reflection of society’s obsession with physical appearance.

“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,” said Catmel.

“If you have one type of dependence, you may be more likely to have another addiction.”

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