Researchers have found that someone who engages in excessive tanning may also be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and body dysmorphic disorders (BDD).

"While more research is needed in regard to establish that excessive want of tanning is an addiction or not, this study as of now suggests that some people who opt for frequent tanning,  also experience mental health symptoms that warrant further assessment," said Erin Bonar, assistant professor of psychiatry at University of Michigan's addiction research centre.

"Although tanning behaviour could be separate and distinct from these concerns, it's possible that the symptoms of OCD or BDD are related with the tanning in some or the other way," Bonar added.

Respondents who answered yes to at least three of the eight criteria on the Tanning-DSM - a modified version of substance abuse criteria in the US - were considered tanning dependent.

Those who answered yes to two of the four questions on the tanning-specific version were considered to have problematic tanning. Out of 533 tanning students who took the questionnaire, 31 percent met the criteria for tanning dependence and 12 percent for problematic tanning.

"It may be that some individuals engage in excessive tanning because of obsessive thoughts about compulsion to tan," explained Lisham Ashrafioun, a PhD student in psychology at Ohio-based Bowling Green State University.

If problem tanning is conceptualised as an addictive disorder, obsessions and compulsion then it will be reflected in you, if you feel an urge to get yourself tanned, said the study published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology.


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