A new chemical compound, developed by scientists, promises not only to make any skin tan, but also to increase the defenses against skin cancer. The new compound, created to work in conjunction with the sunscreen, can release the pigment that causes the skin to darken on any skin type, including the skin of redheads, temporarily increasing the production of melanin.
If the new product passes human testing and works properly, it may dictate the end of “false” tanning products, while giving greater protection to the skin of people with lighter and more sensitive skins.
The new product is based on an extract from a plant called forskolin, and according to tests carried out by the team of David Fisher from the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard University, has the ability to produce a tan with high protection against cancer in red-haired mice, without the need to resort to dangerous ultraviolet rays.
This is a big step, and your redheaded friend who often complains that he cannot go to the beach because he gets sunburned and cannot even tan, is not only complaining, because in reality, redheads have a genetic mutation in the MC1R gene, that in addition to giving them a clear skin and red hair, also affects a receptor molecule that is usually on the surface of the skin, called melanocytes.
This receptor works in conjunction with melanocytes to produce melanin dark pigments in the skin in response to UV radiation, which also serves as protection, but redheads do not have this ability, and when struck by lightning, they get sunburned. When the researchers simulated the application of forskolin on the skin of mice raised to be similar to redheads, the production of melanin was stimulated. Below you can see the mice to which the chemical and the control mice were applied.
After the application, the rats treated with forskolin were exposed to UV rays, and experienced greater protection of the skin and DNA, and a much lesser possibility of developing cancerous tumors. This is because melanin has the ability to disperse more than 99.9 percent of the dangerous UV rays absorbed by the skin, and therefore, the more melanin there is, the more protected the cells will be.
When they applied the treatment for the first time in humans about a decade ago, scientists have encountered a problem, since our skin is about 5 times thicker than that of mice and has a high capacity to combat unknown chemicals, but now, using a new class of compounds that can cross the layers of our epidermis and at the same time increase the pigmentation process, it seems to be close to reaching those who need it most.
These small molecules work by temporarily inhibiting the SIK enzymes, which are responsible for the inhibition of melanin production, and in doing so after applying a high dose of the compound, the mice had a similar reaction to when forskolin is applied.
After tests in a donated skin, the scientists were able to achieve the desired results with the new compound, allowing them to remain for several days without re-application.
Although the new compound still have to pass human testing to verify its efficiency and safety, so far all results are extremely promising, and in addition to eventually send the industry of artificial tanning to bankruptcy, will also in conjunction with sunscreens, exponentially increase the protection against UV rays, reducing in a great number the rate of skin cancers, which at the moment is one of the types of cancers that affects more people around the world.