Tanning Without Ultraviolet Rays?
Although the harmful effects of UV rays from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds are well known, many people still yearn for the sun-kissed glow of a healthy-looking tan. Now, researchers may be closer to finding a way to darken the skin without the damaging UV exposure that increases skin cancer risk.
According to a report published in Cell Reports, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston are learning more about the molecular pathways of tanning. First, the scientists discovered a way to promote tanning in mice genetically modified not to tan. Then, the research team successfully developed a substance that artificially darkens human skin cultured in a laboratory.
Lead investigator Dr. David E. Fisher, chief of the Department of Dermatology at MGH, reports that since skin cells normally renew themselves, the tan achieved was temporary but lasted several days. If this new substance is found to be safe in humans, it could one day be used together with sunscreen to produce a healthy tan.