Despite the well-documented and known risks associated with tanning it seems that some people are going even further than sun beds to get tanned skin.

The latest craze involves injecting a potentially dangerous substance under the skin in order to change the pigmentation and darken the skin. The dangerous Melanotan side effects mean more and more people are putting their lives at risk, all for the sake of tanning.

It is currently illegal to sell tanning injections such as Melanotan. This is because the product is unlicensed as it has not been safety tested. There is no evidence to support the safety of the drug and it is not known whether there are any side effects or how long lasting they could be.

What is Melanotan I & Melanotan II?

Both melanotan products are cosmetic products that stimulate (and mimic) a natural increase in melanin production, the main determinant of skin colour. They are manmade versions of a natural protein called “alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone”, or alpha-MSH. Melanin is a brown pigment that causes skin to become darker in appearance, instead of reddening, when exposed to UV rays.

Some of the reported Melanotan side effects include nausea, loss of appetite, facial flushing, aching limbs and increased blood pressure. In the most serious of cases, there have even been reported fatalities where Melanotan was said to be a major contributing cause. In addition to the direct problems the product can cause there is also concern over the application of the drug. The sharing of needles and unauthorised application is also putting people at risk of diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.

In spite of the negative side effects and press surrounding the product, it seems some people have still failed to be out off by using it.

Micheal Evans-Brown from the Liverpool John Moores University carried out research on the drug and stated his concerns over the long-term effects of having the injections. He said there were major indications that it could “damage the cardiovascular and immune systems, apart from giving rise to other complications.” During his research he found that the stimulation of the cells that produce melanin could quite possibly lead to cancer or organ failure.

There are much safer ways to achieve a healthy complexion that doesn’t involve tanning, injections or sun exposure. Recent trends appear to be leaning more towards the natural look with porcelain skin making a comeback thanks to actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow. Treat your skin to a laser dermabrasion to give a perfect and smooth complexion, a much safer and seemingly fashionable way to be on trend with your skin.