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Are Tanning Injections Safe?

Friday, August 12, 2011
by John Doe

A range of healthier, sunless tanning products and processes have hit the market over the past decade. Whatever the manner, all tanners are in search of that perfect quick and easy yet natural-looking and evenly tanned appearance. In recent years, tanners have turned to the “Barbie Doll Drug,” a tanning injection that, interestingly, hasn’t amassed nearly as much media attention as predicted.

The drug, known as Afamelanotide (also known as Melanotan), is a manmade drug that replicates the body’s alpha melanocyte stimulating hormones.  The hormones stimulate the production of melancoytes- skin cells found in the deeper layers of the skin’s outer layer. These hormones create melanin, which is a pigment that protects the skin from harmful sun exposure by darkening the skin and producing the tanned effect. Melanin is more active in darker skinned individuals; the hormone, therefore, protects those with darker skin, more than their pale skinned counterparts, from the risks of sunburn and skin cancer.

The creation of Afamelanotide traces back to research to protect those whose genetics put them at a high risk of sunburn and/or developing skin cancer. In recent years, however, the injection has morphed into a tanning injection, leaving users with a “Barbie Doll effect”; a flawless, evenly- toned, golden tan. The benefits: tanning injections do not streak and can’t wash off. But the flip side: the risks of an injection have not been identified; Professionals currently have no knowledge of any long term side-effects of the drug.

Currently the drug is being researched in clinical trials in several countries, including Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. The trials produce promising results, although no license or approval for the tanning injection has been issued as of yet. The Australian company, Clinuvel, presently regulates and develops the drug that is used as a tanning injection.

So is this “Barbie Doll Drug” safe to use or is this a tanning tactic to avoid? Essentially, there’s no clear path pointing either way. What you can be sure about, however, is that tanning injections leave you with one of the most natural looking tans: no streaking, no washing off. Makes your search for the perfect sunless tanning product that much easier!