sun uva uvb

Is UV-Free Tanning the Future?

Many of us now understand that the sun’s rays can be damaging to the skin, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like the idea of a tan.

A tan is still generally seen as a healthy and aesthetically flattering look. The problem is, as experts say, there is no safe way to get a tan through sun exposure.

It is commonly accepted that ultraviolet (UV) rays from sun exposure can damage the skin and cause skin cancer. Even the best sunscreen is not 100% UV-proof and will allow some of the sun’s damaging rays to get through.

So what if, in the future, you could get a suntan without having to sunbathe?

Scientists from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston), have managed to promote tanning in mice that do not normally produce eumelanin.

Previous studies showed that inhibiting the action of certain enzymes could induce pigmentation in mice.

In this latest study, the team set out to darken human skin using the same enzymes with specially developed molecules which would better penetrate the skin.

Lab tests showed that applying these molecules to the skin induced a tan which lasted several days.

Lead investigator Dr. David E Fisher said:

The activation of the tanning/pigmentation pathway by this new class of small molecules is physiologically identical to UV-induced pigmentation without the DNA-damaging effects of UV.

“We need to conduct safety studies, which are always essential with potential new treatment compounds, and better understand the actions of these agents.”

The next step is to carry out toxicity studies in animals and then test in humans, as testing so far has been in-vitro only. The long-term goal is to develop a compound that could be used together with regular sunscreen.

Sun Advice

In the meantime, doctors at Cosmedics Skin Clinics advise their patients to be very careful with any sun exposure and not be tempted to forego safety in order to pursue a tan. Advice includes:

  1. Apply sunscreen generously to any areas of the skin that are exposed
  2. Re-apply sunscreen every two hours and immediately after swimming/sweating to maintain its benefit
  3. When in the sun, keep well covered – wear a hat, T-shirt and sunglasses for additional protection.
  4. Avoid the sun at its strongest – seek shade between 11-3pm in the summer
  5. Avoid direct sun exposure for babies and very young children

Mole Checking

Sun-related skin problems can surface years later.  Always be vigilant for suspicious moles and regularly check in a detailed ‘top to toe’ mole check, even in the more unusual areas such as the scalp, or under the soles of the feet.

Dr Ross Perry, a leading mole removal expert who is the Company’s founder and Medical Director, calls it the ‘ugly duckling sign’ and advises patients to seek medical attention as soon as possible to rule out skin cancer.

Cosmetic Moles

If the mole is deemed to be ‘safe’, then removal on the NHS is now quite unlikely as it will be classed as a cosmetic issue.

Many adults therefore choose private mole removal clinics for treatment. For some this is about peace of mind, for others it is purely an aesthetic issue.

Cosmedics Skin Clinics offer mole removal in London and Bristol with qualified and experienced doctors. Moles are removed using the latest surgical techniques including laser mole removal; with techniques designed to minimise scarring and make the procedure entirely painless.

For more information or to book a consultation, please complete the form on this web page or call 020 7386 0464.