A chemical that triggers the release of melanin, a dark pigment in the skin, without the need for sunbathing or a genetic predisposition for tanning has been created. According to researchers, the chemical can induce a tan even in fair individuals with the type of skin that turns lobster pink rather than bronze in the sun due to lack of melanin.
People with dark skin tones generally are less susceptible to UV damage and have a far lower risk of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer due to the presence of greater amount of melanin. Researchers say that the chemical they have created can help set off a cascade of reactions during sun exposure that results in skin cells producing melanin. Melanin dissipates more than 99.9% of absorbed UV rays, limiting radiation damage to cells and also protecting against skin cancer.