Drug produced to mimic ‘real sun tan’

20 Jun 2017

A new drug has been developed that aims to mimic sunlight and cause the skin to tan without the damaging effects of UV radiation.

According to scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital, the topical drug, known as a Salt-Inducible Kinases (SIK) Inhibitor, is rubbed into the skin and triggers the release of dark pigment in the skin. The team hopes their discovery could help reduce the risk of cancer and slow the appearance of ageing.

They claim that the drug will also work on those with fair skin who are more prone to burning. The drug has been tested on ginger mice, which saw them turn jet black within two days, before fading a week later. The team hope to continue with human trials and want to combine the drug with sun cream, to provide maximum protection against the sun. 

Dr David Fisher, one of the researchers, said “We are excited about the possibility of inducing dark pigment production in human skin, without a need for either systemic exposure to a drug or UV exposure to the skin.” He added, “We need to conduct safety studies, which are always essential with potential new treatment compounds, to give a better understanding of the actions of these agents.

But it is possible they may lead to new ways of protecting against UV-induced skin damage and cancer formation.”

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