(WXYZ) – This new drug mimics sunlight and tricks your skin into producing melatonin. This causes your skin to darken without any damaging UV radiation from the sun. It’s been tested on mice and skin samples in a lab but more safety testing is needed. The scientists who developed this skin-darkening agent believe it’ll work best on redheads, blondes and fair-skin people who burn in the sun.
Looking at cancer rates, those with darker skin have lower cancer rates compared to fair skinned people. Your skin tans when the sun’s UV light causes damage that leads to dark melanin. Melanin is our body’s natural sunblock. Studies found people with darker skin are better protected because they naturally have more melanin.
Tests revealed this drug blocked harmful UV rays in the lab and could be very effective in fighting skin cancer when combined with sunscreen. It may take a while before this product is thoroughly tested and hits the market. It’s very important to stay safe in the sun:
1. Watch your sun exposure. Avoid the sun when it’s most intense, typically between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you can’t, try to hang out in the shade.
2. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. If you’re outside for long periods, use an SPF of 30 or higher and apply every two hours. Does sunscreen expire? Learn more here.
3. Wear sunglasses and hats with a wide brim. It’ll help shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
Sunscreens don’t provide complete protection so cover your skin with dark, tightly woven clothing.
4. Don’t use tanning beds. They emit UV rays and can increase your risk of skin cancer as well.
You can get skin cancer anywhere so it’s important to become familiar with your skin. If you notice any changes in existing moles, freckles, bumps and birthmarks, be sure to show them to your doctor along with any new unusual-looking growths.
Learn more about sun safety here.
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Data pulled from WXYZ.