A Wake Forest University study suggests frequent tanning might become addictive.

Researchers from the university’s Baptist Medical Center say their study suggests ultraviolet light has feel-good effects that may be similar to those of some addictive drugs.

We had previously shown that ultraviolet light has an effect on mood that tanners value, said Dr. Mandeep Kaur, the study’s lead author. Now … we’ve shown some tanners actually experience withdrawal symptoms when the ‘feel-good’ chemicals are blocked.

The research was designed to test the hypothesis that exposure to ultraviolet light may produce endorphins — brain chemicals that can cause euphoric feelings.

The finding was unexpected and is consistent with the hypothesis that frequent tanning may be driven, in part, by a mild dependence on opioids, most likely endorphins, said Dr. Steven Feldman, senior researcher and a professor of dermatology.

The research is detailed in the April issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.