Scientists have invented a tanning drug and it won’t cause skin cancer

Tanning drug (h)

This could be the tanning breakthrough of the century!

Picture this: a world where tanning was as simple as rubbing a lotion into your skin to create a tan that’s actually produced by your body.

Seriously? OMG! No more self-tan fails, no more streaky spray-ons, just perfectly-matched golden gloriousness, without any risk of skin cancer. And it might actually be here soon.

The wonder drug – produced by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital – is applied directly to the skin and works by mimicking actual sunlight which the body responds to by tanning.

Basically, the skin gets tricked into producing the brown form of the pigment, melanin which is the body’s natural sunblock.


Tanning under the sun can result in hitting your body with harmful UV rays. By not exposing your skin to UV, you can also bypass the likelihood of regrettable damage to your skin.

Given skin cancer rates are on the increase, this medical breakthrough could totally change how we tan in the future.


One of the scientists researching the drug, Dr David Fisher told the BBC News: “Our real goal is a novel strategy for protecting skin from UV radiation and cancer.

“Dark pigment is associated with a lower risk of all forms of skin cancer – that would be really huge.”

There’s also the added benefit of our skin looking better for longer because as we all know the sun is a hella bad for aging. But until this wonder drug is available we’re going to keep busting out the SPF 50 and sticking to our fave fake tans.

In New Zealand, over 4,000 people are diagnosed with the skin cancer called Melanoma every year. If you have a freckle or mole which has changed in size, shape or colour, or you’ve discovered a new spot on your skin, book an appointment with your GP or a registered dermatologist to have it checked. Call 0800 CANCER (0800 226 237) for more info.

Photos: Instagram & GIPHY