After 10 years research, scientists have created a drug that helps users tan without sun and that could potentially reduce the risk of skin cancer.

The US journal of Cell Reports said that the drug stimulates the cells that create pigment that absorbs ultraviolet light.

They do however stress that further testing is needed in order to ensure there are no adverse side-effects in users.

The product is applied to the skin in a cream form and had positive results when tested in mice, who developed a tan without adverse effects.


It has taken scientist's more than a decade to advance research published in the British Journal Nature in 2006, and now scientist's believe they have worked out how to make much thicker human skin absorb the substance.

The report reads that the substance called forskolin gave mice a deep tan without exposure to UV light, but it appeared much tougher on human skin that is much thicker.

"Human skin is a very good barrier and is a formidable penetration challenge. Therefore, other topical approaches just did not work," said David Fisher, chief of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

This chemical could mean you're able to tan without going into the sun. Photo / Getty
This chemical could mean you're able to tan without going into the sun. Photo / Getty

"But 10 years later, we have come up with a solution. It's a different class of compounds, that work by targeting a different enzyme that converges on the same path way that leads to pigmentation."

The researchers tested several samples of human skin and found that it darkened in proportion to the dosage applied and lasted for several days.

"We believe the potential importance of this work is towards a novel strategy for skin cancer prevention," Fisher said.

"Skin is the most common organ in our bodies to be afflicted with cancer, and the majority of cases are thought to be associated with UV radiation," he said.

The researchers hope that the cream will develop a tan without exposure to sun and also absorb harmful UV rays like a sun screen.