You know the saying, "The only safe tan is a fake tan"? Time to add a caveat to the otherwise truthful phrase. Some women have been injecting themselves with Melanotan, an illegal drug that stimulates melanin production, therefore creating a darker skin tone.
Doctors worry that the ingredients activate potentially cancerous skin cells, which could increase the likelihood of skin cancer. In the short term, side effects aren't so cool. After accidentally using 20 units in one go, 36-year-old beautician Caroline Scott became bedridden, but that didn't stop her from trying again:
"I did feel a bit nauseous again, but that soon passed and a week later I developed an even, golden tan. But although I was pleased with the results, I noticed that my moles looked a bit darker and more pronounced. . . I realized that I had no idea what the long-term effects were, and the changes in my moles worried me because that can be a sign of skin cancer. I’ve since decided to place my health above vanity."
While scientists investigate the safety of the drug, women are still buying it on the black market. (In the UK, it's illegal to sell Melanotan, but buying it is legal.) I think it should go without saying, but ladies: Do not inject yourselves with unknown substances to get a tan! If you absolutely have to have a golden glow, fake it with self-tanner. With so many options available, there's simply no reason to jab yourself with a potentially shady medicine.