SCIENTISTS have found a “Towie gene” that raises the risk of sunbed addiction.
People with one variant were up to 14-times more likely to get hooked.
Study leader Dr Darren Mays said: “They may get more of a ‘hit’, which could be addictive if repeated.
“It is well established that sunbed use can cause cancer. So it would be good if we can identify those at risk of addiction and offer them help.”
Researchers quizzed 292 women, aged 18 to 30, on their mental health, body image and tanning habits.
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Some 22 per cent were assessed as addicted to indoor tanning, using beds, lamps or booths. Volunteers also gave saliva samples for DNA. That identified differences in two areas of a gene that appeared to increase addiction risk.
After accounting for vanity, tanning frequency and depression — one variant was linked to a 13.6-times higher odds of addiction.
Skin cancer affects 163,000 Brits a year.