When people expose their skin to the ultraviolet rays found at the beach and in suntan beds, scientists now say there’s a proven reason so many people feel good afterward.

“They can lay down, and they feel calm. Relaxed. They’ve chilled out. But there’s a biochemical reason for that. And it’s because of the release of these endogenous endorphins and about 10 percent of our population, just like 10 percent of other drugs, are very easily addicted to that,” said Dr. Sancy Leachman, chair of the dermatology department at Oregon Health & Science University.

Leachman says despite the years of public health warnings, people still deny how dangerous sun tanning can be, especially for young women and men older than 50, who have the highest levels of melanoma in America today.

“I can’t tell you how many young women I’ve had with melanoma or more than one melanoma who have been victims of the sun tan salon trend,” said Leachman.

Take all the breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers in America and add them together. That total still is less than the number of skin cancers doctors found last year alone.

Here’s another statistic: Every hour someone dies from melanoma.

One more little-known fact from the skin cancer foundation: cities like Portland and Seattle, usually considered cloudy and rainy much of the year, are among the states with the highest rates of skin cancer in America.

Why? Researchers still aren’t sure.