Scientists have been successful in creating a drug that produces similar effects of a sunlight to make the skin tan but there are no harmful UV radiations involved. This drug makes the skin to produce the brown form of pigment melanin in tests on skin samples of mice. The evidences indicate that the drug will work on even redheads, who normally tan in the sun. The team at Massachusetts General Hospital believe that this new breakthrough can prevent skin cancer and slow down the process of ageing.
UV light causes the skin to tan by damaging it internally. This triggers off a chain of chemical reactions in the skin that leads to darkening. The UV radiations intensify the production of melanin which is the natural sun protector of our body. Now this drug, when rubbed into the skin kick starts the same process of making melanin. It has a potential darkening effect.
"Under the microscope it's the real melanin, it really is activating the production of pigment in a UV-independent fashion." says Dr. David Fisher, one of the researchers.
This leads to a better approach to fake tan. It fakes tan and paints the skin without exposing it to UV light or pills. But the team is not looking for turning it into a new cosmetic product. They are thinking about combining this drug with a sunscreen to give efficient protection from solar radiation.
It is not yet evident that the drug will show the same results on the hair, but it is believed that the hair follicle too deep in the skin for the drug to reach. It is not yet available for commercial use yet. More safety tests will be performed on the drug, although so far they’ve been no problems with it.
He added: "A lot more research has to be done before we see this sort of technology being used on humans, however, it's certainly an interesting proposition.
"Skin cancer rates in the UK are going through the roof... any research into ways that we can prevent people from developing skin cancer in the first place is to be welcomed."
This novel drug might help those people who spend a lot of time burning under the sun to get the sun kissed looks. It can also be used to improve the efficacy of a sunscreen.