Over the years experts have made it clear that tanning comes with many health risks. Yet every year nearly 30 million Americans go to indoor tanning salons.
More than 1 million people continue to use tanning beds every day.
A new study published in Addiction Biology has proposed a new theory on why tanning remains popular despite the health risks.
According to researchers, the findings point towards tanning being addictive.
"We call it Tanorexia," said Dr. Dorris Day, a dermatologist. "They're just never satisfied with the amount of tan they have."
Experts say the brain of a frequent tanner responds to tanning in areas associated with rewards, the same areas activated in other addictions.
"Certain regions of the brain we know are responsible -- partially responsible - for drug and alcohol addiction seem to have increased blood flow when you put UV light in front of these individuals who are known for frequent tanning," explained Dr. Charles Samenow, a psychiatrist and professor at George Washington University.
The new findings could explain why increased awareness about skin cancer, premature aging and wrinkles are having little impact among those who obsessively tan.
Also, people are beginning to tan at younger ages.
Katie Donnar began tanning in sixth grade. She only stopped when she was diagnosed with melanoma.
"I continued tanning throughout high school about three times a week," she said.
"The most deadly of skin cancer, melanoma, is more common and kills women predominantly in their 20s. This is life or death," Day warned.
Each year melanoma kills more than 9,000 people.
Researchers say that people under the age of 30 who use a tanning bed 10 times a year have eight times the risk of developing melanoma.