Addictive-like behaviours to ultraviolet light among frequent indoor tanners

Clin Exp Dermatol. 2011 Jan;36(1):33-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2010.03882.x.


Background: Frequent, purposeful exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light may induce a compulsive desire to tan despite the negative consequences being known, suggesting a behavioural complex similar to addictive disorders.

Aim: To assess the presence of addictive-like behaviours in subjects using indoor tanning salons.

Methods: Subjects (n = 100) were surveyed by two questionnaires: a modified CAGE questionnaire to assess behaviours consistent with problem tanning and a modified Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) ('substance dependence' criteria) to assess behaviours consistent with a dependence-like disorder.

Results: In total, 41% of subjects met criteria consistent with a 'tanning addictive disorder', and an additional 33% met criteria for problematic tanning behaviour based on the modified CAGE criteria or subthreshold criteria on the modified DSM-IV criteria. Female gender and early age of onset were associated with meeting tanning addiction criteria.

Conclusion: A high percentage of subjects who tan frequently in indoor salons experience behaviours and consequences to their tanning consistent with other identified addictive disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beauty Culture
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Factors
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Skin Pigmentation / radiation effects*
  • Sunbathing / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult