What is Melanotan? What is it made of?
What is Melanotan?
Doctor Answers 1
A Tanning Injection
Research for this drug has been going on for the past 20 years, and it does seem closer to fruition. Most of the original research came out of the dermatology department of the University of Arizona.
This drug was developed to protect people who are very fair and who have difficulty tanning ( Fitzpatrick Type I skin) and those with skin conditions like Xeroderma Pigmentosum (where the DNA does not correct itself from sun damage leading to a horrendous amount of skin cancers).
The medical name for Melanotan is afamelanotide. It is a peptide which duplicates all 13 of the amino acids in alpha melanocytic stimulating hormone (which we all have). This hormone, as its name strongly suggests, turns the melanocytes on to make pigment.
It does work to increase pigment and develop tans without sunlight. However, its safety is still questioned and it has to be injected.
Melanotan has a more edgy cousin, Melanotan II. Melanotan II is sometimes jokingly called the Barbie drug. It not only gives its recipients a tan, but is an appetite supressant and has aphrodisiac properties.
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