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Research Says Sun Addiction May Be Genetic

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For those who still don’t shun the “sun’s rays can destroy your skin” message, there may be a genetic reason, new research says.

According to a study of 260,000 people led by King’s College London, there’s a link between sun-seeking behavior and the genes responsible for addiction, personality traits and brain function.

As reported by ScienceDaily, “the researchers studied detailed health information of 2,500 twins from TwinsUK, including their sun-seeking behavior and genetics, with results showing that identical twins in a pair were more likely to have a similar sun-seeking behavior than non-identical twins, indicating that genetics play a key role.”

The research team then identified five key genes involved in sun-seeking behavior from a further analysis of an additional 260,000 participants.

“Our results suggest that tackling excessive sun exposure or use of tanning beds might be more challenging than expected, as it is influenced by genetic factors,” said senior author Dr. Mario Falchi of King’s College London. “It is important for the public to be aware of this predisposition, as it could make people more mindful of their behavior and the potential harms of excessive sun exposure.”

The researchers noted that the study may help craft the messaging of skin-cancer awareness campaigns.

“It is clear that we see individuals who have very unhealthy sun behavior and are fully aware of it,” added Dr. Veronique Bataille, consultant dermatologist. “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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