Scientists in America have discovered a way to artificially darken the skin without the need for UV exposure, creating a ‘natural’ fake tan!
Professor David Fisher and his team from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, discovered a small molecule which can be used to switch the melanin production process on, without having to spend time in the sun and its harmful UV rays,
The SIK (salt-inducible kinases) inhibitor drugs were applied to human skin samples in a lab and scientists found it darkened the skin, thanks to the increased production of melanin.
“It’s possible [the drug] may lead to new ways of protecting against UV-induced skin damage and cancer formation,” said Dr. David Fisher, a co-author of the new research and the chief of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The research also found that once treatment was stopped the tan gradually faded, just as a natural tan would.
So far so good but as expected there are potential risks. The inhibitors work by turning on a gene called MITF, which is the master regulator of pigment genes.
In certain cases mutating or amplifying the MITF gene can cause cancer and although this process is unlikely to trigger any mutations, more research is needed.
But moving forward it could lead to both safer tanning and huge savings on fake tan!