15
Jun

Researchers give skin cells a tan – without the sun

Without damaging UV rays, the artificial tan could give that golden glow while protecting against skin cancer.

Despite tanning’s well-known link to skin cancer, many of us simply can’t resist that golden look. But now, researchers may have found the perfect solution: a natural tan, without the sun.

Studying mice, the researchers identified the molecular pathways that lead to tanning and learned how to stimulate these pathways, turning pale red-haired mice into dark brown ones. Now, they’ve figured out how to do the same in laboratory samples of human skin, inducing a tan exactly the same way the sun does. They hope to use this research to create a product that could give people protective tans. These fake tans, gotten without harmful UV radiation, could be used along with sunscreen to help reduce skin cancer risk—and produce a lovely sun-kissed glow.

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