It’s a well-known fact that the only tan that is safe is the one that comes in a bottle.
Despite this knowledge however, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they’re 70 and Australian women are ageing faster than anyone else in the world due to the damage that Australia’s high UV levels causes on the skin.
While the ‘slip, slop, slap’ slogan has gone a long way to educate individuals on how harmful the sun’s rays can be, many of us still spend hours working on our tans in the summer months.
This dangerous habit could be set to change however, thanks to a group of scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital. A new report published in Cell Reports revealed that the scientists from the US hospital have developed a topical cream that darkens the skin naturally without the harmful effects of UV radiation.
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The cream works differently to traditional fake tans because instead of tinting the skin’s surface, it activates the production of melanin in the skin, effectively darkening the skin’s tone after eight days, while also creating a barrier against the damage the sun causes.
The Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, Joshua Zeichner told Allure the new drug “offers an exciting new option to minimise the risk of skin cancers, especially in very fair skin patients.”
Zeichner also explained that while “it does not take the place of traditional sunscreen behaviour, being able to increase the amount of pigmentation in the skin may help prevent sunburns in people with extremely fair skin who would not have much of their own pigment.
While the topical cream is still in the research stage, it’s an exciting step forward to protecting our skin against sun damage while also having the added benefit of developing a natural looking (and safe) tan.
This article previously appeared on beautycrew.