New Tanning Lotion Activates the Production of Melanin

Fagjun | Published 2017-06-15 23:15

Sick of fake tans? There's something better on the way.
[Photo by Isabell Winter]

Goodbye, fake tans—there will soon be a tanning lotion that can make even the melanin-challenged truly tan.

Self-tanning lotions may make you look great, but they don't do much beyond that. Plus, they don't always make you look great anyway. Sometimes, they make it obvious that you're wearing a fake tan. Even worse, they don't actually provide you with much protection from sun damage.

Thus, there's now a new kind of tanning lotion that stimulates human tissues to facilitate the production of the dark form of melanin. This form of melanin is able to absorb UV skin cells and protect the skin from sun damage.

Best of all? It doesn't matter if you have the type of skin that doesn't tan but instead burns under the sun. The lotion will help you produce melanin, which can thus protect you from sun damage and give you a genuine tan.


Do you burn instead of tan under the sun? [Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt/Pink Sherbet Photography/Getty Images]

How, therefore, is all this possible? The team behind this innovation has already tested the lotion on human skin samples, and they've found that the lotion works. They applied forskolin, a plant extract, on mice whose skin is similar to the skin of people who don't tan. The application of forskolin enabled these mice to produce melanin.

The mice with forskolin didn't experience much damage after exposure to UV rays. They also had less DNA damage and fewer skin tumors than the mice that didn't get forskolin.

Forskolin isn't the only thing that can stimulate the production of melanin. The researchers worked to find something that can target another melanin-inhibiting skin protein. They targeted a protein called salt-inducible kinase, which inhibits the production of melanin in mice. The team thus aimed to produce a drug that can target this protein and inhibit it.

Tanning Lotion and Sunscreen

It's possible to enjoy the summer outdoors without worrying about your skin.
[Photo by Mike Wilson]

The problem with the forskolin was that it can't penetrate the human epidermis. It worked well for mouse skin, but the human epidermis is about five times thicker than mouse epidermis. Forskolin cannot penetrate through human epidermis, which makes it ineffective for humans. The drug that targeted the salt-inducible kinase exhibited that it can deeply tan human tissue after just one treatment a day for eight days.

Thus, a tanning lotion or treatment that can stimulate the production of melanin in humans is possible. However, applying this lotion or undergoing the treatment alone won't be enough to protect the skin from sun damage. The researchers say that it's best to use the treatment in combination with sunscreen.

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