|Basic InformationLatest News|Health Tip: Plan for a Heat WaveGivers Really Are Happier Than TakersHealth Tip: Think Smart During a Hot SpellHow Safe and Effective Is Your Sunscreen?For Drivers, Hands-free Can Still Be a HandfulIt's Never Too Soon to Safeguard Your BonesImpact of Video Games on Brain Varies With Game Type, Strategy'Loneliness Epidemic' Called a Major Public Health ThreatNeed to Calm Down? Try Talking to YourselfJust Thinking You're Less Active May Shorten Your LifeHealth Tip: Protect Your Skin at WorkGolfing and Gardening Your Way to FitnessTeaching an Old Brain New TricksCan't Get to the Gym? Work Out in Your Office!The Scoop on Avoiding 'Brain Freeze'How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?Healthy Heart in 20s, Better Brain in 40s?Health Tip: Getting Too Much Sun?Health Tip: Protect Your Eyes During SummerHealth Tip: Check the Water Before SwimmingFlip-flops: Fun in the Sun, but Tough on FeetWhen Opinions Threaten FriendshipsBetter Diet, Longer Life?Health Tip: If Lifestyle Interferes With SleepDocs Should Counsel Even Healthy People on Diet, Exercise, Experts SayDaily Jolt of Java May Bring Longer LifeHealth Tip: When Air Quality is PoorKeep Your Summer Cookouts SafeMany Parts of the World Lack Soap for Hand-WashingHealth Tip: Yoga Before BedGetting Over GuiltHealth Tip: When Summer Heat Gets IntenseDon't Let Summer Strain Your BackFor Many, Friends Are Key to Happiness in Old AgePresence of Smartphone Cuts Available Cognitive CapacityProtect Your Skin From the Summer SunHealth Tip: Create a Food-and-Activity JournalHow to Dodge Summertime ThreatsHealth Tip: Basic Beach SafetyHealth Tip: Are You Well Enough to Travel?Health Tip: Want Healthier Lungs?Tips to Curb Nighttime EatingExtreme Heat in Southwest a Deadly ThreatMany Americans May Be Taking Too Much Vitamin DHow to Beat Jet Lag This Summer VacationAmericans Want to Be Fit, But Most Don't Put in the EffortWith Climate Change, More Deadly Heatwaves Will StrikeAre U.S. Teens Now as Inactive as 60-Year-Olds?Summer Fun Is Not Without HazardsHappy Marriage, Healthier SpousesVideosLinksBook Reviews
Have Scientists Created a Safe, Sun-Free Tan?
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Jun 14th 2017
WEDNESDAY, June 14, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Many people would love to have a natural-looking golden tan, but know that soaking up the sun raises their risk of skin cancer. Now scientists say they've developed a way to tan without exposure to damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
In laboratory tests, the researchers used the technique to increase pigmentation in human skin samples. And while science done at this early stage sometimes doesn't pan out in humans, the researchers remain hopeful.
"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," study leader Dr. David Fisher said in a Massachusetts General Hospital news release. Fisher is chief of dermatology at the hospital in Boston.
"We need to conduct safety studies, which are always essential with potential new treatment compounds, and better understand the actions of these agents. But it's possible they may lead to new ways of protecting against UV-induced skin damage and cancer formation," Fisher added.
Drawing on Japanese research in mice, Fisher's team zeroed in on enzymes known as salt-inducible kinases (SIKs) that affect skin color. Small-molecule SIK inhibitors triggered significant darkening of the skin samples after eight days of daily application to the skin samples, according to the researchers.
The treatment produced a protective, dark pigment called eumelanin that deposited near the skin surface much like UV-induced pigmentation/tanning. That suggests the molecules activated the same pigmentation pathway, the study authors explained.
The study was published June 13 in the journal Cell Reports.
"We are excited about the possibility of inducing dark pigment production in human skin without a need for either systemic exposure to a drug or UV exposure to the skin," said Fisher, who is also a professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and director of the MGH Cutaneous Biology Research Center.
The study is a follow-up to 2006 research that identified molecular underpinnings of the tanning response. In that study, researchers used a compound called forskolin to induce tanning in a strain of mice that normally does not make protective melanin.
Forskolin and a similar compound did not work in tests with human skin, which led Fisher's team to switch gears and resulted in the successful approach, according to the news release.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency outlines the dangers of UV radiation.
This article: Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.