Tanning jab is dangerous

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Anyone using the "top up tan" injection, Melanotan, have been urged to stop immediately as their have been reports of users seeing their moles grow rapidly and colour darken.

Melanotan is an illegal tanning drug that in some cases has been bought over the internet. It is issued with the warning that it has not been tested and that the side effects are unknown in form and severity.

The UK medicines Safety Agency has deemed it illegal as they have not tested the drug and anyone who has used it is advised to consult their GP immediately for advice.

What is Melanotan?


Melanotan is a synthetic hormone which is injected under the skin to encourage it to darken. It increases the levels of pigment melanin in the skin. There are 2 forms of the drug available called Melanotan I and II which are diluted in water before injecting.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is currently contacting any companies that advertise or supply Melanotan to notify them it is illegal.

Other dangers


It is not only the possible side effects of the drug that make it dangerous. You should also be aware of the risks of:

  • using non-sterile water to prepare injections as this can cause serious blood infections
  • sharing needles can lead to blood-borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis
  • injections by untrained individuals can cause skin and tissue damage and may result in permanent or life-threatening injury.

The safer option may be to consider fake tanning lotions and sprays, but pregnant women are advised that even this is not safe.


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