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New topical tanning product

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This is one for the science nerds out there.



Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in the US have created a drug that stimulates the production of melanin – the skin’s natural defense against UV rays that darkens to protect it – so the tan is real and not painted or sprayed on.


Spray tans and fake tans might look great (and are definitely the safer option), but they don’t offer any actual protection against the Sun. Tests from the study showed that the melanin produced by the drug successfully protected against UV rays.


How does it work? Under UV rays the skin naturally protects itself against harm by kickstarting a chemical reaction that produces melanin, the pigment that gives hair, skin, and eyes a dark coloring, which is why people who live in warmer, sunnier climes often have darker skin and hair.


The drug is rubbed onto the skin to stimulate the melanin process. So far, it has only been tested on mice and skin samples, though the results suggest it could even work on redheads, whose pale skin is due to a genetic mutation that prevents the skin from producing melanin, meaning they are much more susceptible to dangerous burning.


Or read the university's press release here:


And for the real geeks, the full study:


What's interesting is that this uses forskolin, a compound that the amateur pharmacists had been playing around with over at (a few years back when that site existed). As a non-injectible tanning product, it was considered the holy grail by many, and there was a lot of discussion about it at the time. It looked promising on paper, but I don't think anyone had much luck actually getting it to work. It seems the problem was the absorption (or lack thereof), and that is what these guys have now cracked.

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