Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan

Scientists have developed a drug that mimics sunlight to make the skin tan.

The drug tricks the skin into producing the brown form of the pigment melanin in tests on skin samples and mice...

This kicks off a chain of chemical reactions in the skin that ultimately leads to dark melanin - the body's natural sunblock - being made. The drug is rubbed into the skin to skip the damage and kick-start the process of making melanin.

Dr David Fisher, one of the researchers, told the BBC News website: "It has a potent darkening effect.

"Under the microscope it's the real melanin, it really is activating the production of pigment in a UV-independent fashion."

Science fiction fans might be thinking of the tannin-secretion pills from Flatlander (1967) by Larry Niven:

All my life I've used tannin-secretion pills for protection against ultraviolet...

Or, perhaps the selected melanin boosting from Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson.

Via BBC; thanks to Ted Ewan and for the story and reference, and to Winchell Chung for the tip!

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