melanotan: could it cause skin cancer ?

This article from the DailyMail is offering some warnings about being too quick to jump on the Melanotan II bandwagon. It is worth remembering on top of all of the warnings below, that Melanotan specifically as a rosacea treatment is also something we know very little about. I think that the combination of rosacea sufferers desperate for relief, the relative ease of obtaining Melanotan, and the fact that so little is known about its effects, is a recipe for dangerous outcomes.

Pretty pills: The dark side of the latest underground beauty trend

The drug, a synthetically produced hormone, was developed by researchers at the University of Arizona to combat skin cancer – it worked by increasing the levels of melanin, which is the body’s natural sun protection system.

However, Melanotan II was not a simple pill. It’s a hormone, which means it can’t be swallowed, as the chemicals in the gut would destroy it. It can, however, be introduced into the body through an implant under the skin or via an injection.

It has not yet been approved by the FDA in the US, nor is it a licensed drug in Britain. But this doesn’t mean it’s not easily available.

Several websites around the world, including one in the UK, sell Melanotan II and give users detailed instructions on how to dissolve the drug in water and inject it.

Alongside the potential side effects of nausea and flushing, some users are reporting that existing moles and freckles become darker, and that new moles and freckles also form.

Could it be that a product developed to tackle skin cancer might actually cause it? The honest answer is that we just don’t know.

Mark Birch-Machin, professor of molecular dermatology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, thinks that the original study into what the drug is capable of has some merit, but stresses that our knowledge of its application and its side-effects is patchy.

“Melanotan II hasn’t been around long enough for us to be able to look at the long-term effects this hormone could have on the body,” he says. “And taking any drug that hasn’t been extensively trialled will always have its potential dangers.”

Further Reading ;

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