Of late I have been asked repeatedly whether at Medicetics we offer the “tanning injection”. Many people have heard about or even been offered it at a number of place such as their local gym and want to know a little more about it.
So what is this stuff? How does it work? Is it safe? Is it legal? How can I get it?
What is this stuff?
The injection that is being talked about is melanocortin/ melanocortan/ melanotan. It is a synthetic version of melanocyte stimulating hormone MSH. What is that you may ask. The body produces a hormone in the pituitary gland that helps to stimulate melanocytes (the cells in the skin that produce a tan) to produce more melanin (tan).
How does it work?
Melanotan works by stimulating the cells to work a bit harder and so minimal exposure to sun will result in a much deeper and quicker tan. It does however require the hormone to be injected, if it was taken orally the acid in the stomach would break it down. It also requires a course as the cells will need to be stimulated over a matter of time.
Is it safe?
The answer to this is that we don’t know. At the moment a large Australian pharmaceutical company is doing stage 3 clinical trials as they believe it may also help to protect against certain types of skin cancer. However these trials have not yet been concluded so we do not know if there are any serious side effects.
The results of a trial involving 79 people was reported in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology showed that the compound, injected into the abdomen in three 10-day cycles over three months, is highly effective.
Melanin density in the skin increased significantly in all the men and women who had the injections. The average increase was 41%.
At the end of the 90-day study there was a reduction of more than 50% in sunburn cell injury.
“This study has shown for the first time the potential ability of a synthetic hormone that augments melanin production to provide photoprotection to people who normally burn in direct sunlight,” say the researchers in their report.
The results of the trials show that injections were associated with four side effects: nausea, facial flushing, fatigue and vomiting. A dozen of those involved in the tests dropped out because of these side effects.
Is it legal?
Until the final results of clinical trials have been seen and the medication approved by the MHRA (Medical Health and Drug Administration) body in the UK then it should not be used in the UK, anybody advertising or selling the product is doing so illegally and could be prosecuted. Furthermore the drug comes as a powder and should only be reconstituted with bacteriostatic water which is prescription only. It is very important that you do not use possibly contaminated water which could itroduce infection into the body.
Where can I get it?
At the moment this isn’t a product that is available in the UK. If the product does turn out to be safe and does gain approval from the MHRA sign up to our feed and we will be sure to let you know how and when you get your inject-a-tan. Our advice is please do NOT try this product until we know if there are any health consequences.
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