For some, the desire to be tanned will take them to the extremes of self injections with an unapproved illegal tanning drug called Melanotan.First developed in pill form in 1991 at The University of Arizona, Melanotan 1 was revealed to be an effective sunless tanning solution with low short term side effects.With continued research the formation of Melanotan 2 was introduced, but with increased short term side effects. Melanotan itself is a synthetic analog* of a naturally occurring hormone A-MSH(alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone) which is present in individuals exposed to UV radiation, causing the process commonly known as tanning. A-MSH is present in greater amounts in individuals with naturally darker skin tones. Melanotan 2 is similar to Melanotan 1, itself a cyclic lactam analog of A-MSH; however, its peptide chain is shorter, and it shares other functional and structural differences (allowing for passage through the blood-brain barrier, and also making it significantly more effective for tanning. Melanotan will not do anything for people with albinism or vitiligo because these patients do not have skin cells with receptors for melanin.
In social circles Melanotan is referred to as ”The Barbie Drug” due to certain side effects such as loss of appetite, darkening of the skin, and increased labido. Other side effects include blue coloring of the lips, intense nausea and vomiting, facial flushing, fatigue, as well as increased freckling, moles, and hyperpigmentation. The Melanotan injections are given in the stomach on a weekly basis while a gradual tan develops. The skin will slowly darken on it’s own, but can be increased by exposing oneself to UV Rays. Once the injections are discontinued the skin should fade back at a normal rate. That’s not always the case though. Especially when you are talking about freckles, moles, and hyperpigmentation.
Melanotan is illegal and has not had the stringent safety and effectiveness testing that all medicines need before they are licensed for use. This means that the long term side effects of this treatment are not known. In addition to the possible side effects of Melanotan itself, there are also other potential dangers. Using non-sterile water to prepare the injections can cause serious blood infections, and sharing needles spreads blood-borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. Injections by untrained individuals can cause skin and tissue damage, and might result in permanent or life-threatening injury.They currently have research grade Melanotan 1 and 2 available for all those research chemists out there (anyone)to test out on their lab-rats(themselves).
However, you have to use this at your own risk because these kits are not FDA approved and not intended for human consumption.
There are many sites and videos for and against Melanotan. Two examples are below.
*A synthetic analog is a:
Synthetically created compound that differs from the Natural compound
Both in its structure and function.