We may be on the way to bidding goodbye to the damaging UV radiation after scientists developed a drug that makes skin tan through mimicking of the sun.
The tests done on skin samples and mice proved successful after the drug tricked the skin to produce melanin – a pigment responsible for skin color.
There are signs that the drug will also be effective on redheads, benefiting people whose hairs just burn in the sun.
This research was done by a team of scientists from the Massachusetts General Hospital. They are hopeful that their discovery will not only combat skin cancer but also aid in slowing ageing.
The Sun Effect
The Sun’s ultra-violate radiation makes the skin tan by causing damage.
This triggers a series of chemical reactions within the skin whose overall effect is production of dark melanin – a natural product made by the body as a sunblock.
This new drug will be rubbed into the skin to overcome skin damage and facilitate rejuvenation of the brown-melanin manufacturing process.
“Under the microscope it’s the real melanin, it really is activating the production of pigment in a UV-independent fashion,” said Doctor David Fisher, a researcher who helped create the drug.
The approach is a complete opposite of fake tan that just ‘paints’ the skin but doesn’t protect from melanin, sun beds, exposing the skin to pills that purport to enhance production of melanin but still requires UV radiation.
However, the researchers aren’t excited about developing a new cosmetic.
In their opinion, very little progress has been made when it comes to skin cancer, one of the most common types of cancer.
Dr Fisher holds that their current target is to protect the skin from UV light and cancer.
“Dark pigment is associated with a lower risk of all forms of skin cancer – that would be really huge,” he added.
Their overall goal is to produce a combined product with sun-cream to offer increased protection against solar radiation.
They advise that there is no question everyone should make use of sun-cream but it still has weaknesses since it ‘makes you pale.’
The working of the drug is in such a manner that it paves way for production of a ginger tan, since the genetic mutation responsible for fair skin and red hair interrupts the natural process in which UV light causes dark melanin.
There isn’t any confirmation that the drug the drug may impact the glorious hair color but scientists believe that the hair follicle is too deep in the skin to be reached.
This drug is however not yet certified for commercial use.
There are still more to be done including safety testing even though there aren’t any hints of problems.
Once it goes on sale, probably a better name will have to be found rather than just SIK-inhibitor.