Tanning addictions may be caused by our genes, say scientists

TANOREXIA may be in the genes, say experts.

They found people trying to appear as tanned as TV’s Towie stars shared five key bits of DNA, which may fuel their desire to bronze.

Previous research has linked these genes to risk-taking and addiction — including smoking tobacco and cannabis, and boozing.

Researchers at King’s College London analysed data on more than 260,000 people — including 2,500 twins.

They found identical twins shared the same sun-seeking behaviour, suggesting genes play a critical role.

Scientists said skin cancer awareness campaigns need to take into account addictive personalities.

The study’s senior author Dr Mario Falchi said: “Our results suggest tackling excessive sun exposure or use of tanning beds might be more challenging than expected, as it is influenced by genetic factors.”

Around 16,200 people are diagnosed each year with melanoma in the UK, making it the fifth most common cancer.

But fatalities could be prevented, with 86 per cent of cases linked to too much sun or sunbeds.

Co-author Dr Veronique Bataille, a consultant dermatologist, said: “It is clear that we see individuals who have very unhealthy sun behaviour and are fully aware of it.

“They will continue to expose themselves excessively even if they have clear skin cancer risk factors.

“Our research shows that genes regulating addiction and other risky behaviour are important and may explain some of the reticence in changing behaviours in the sun.”

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