New research finds melanotan-1 a new drug combined with sunlight helps the body tan quicker without a lot of sun exposure. MT-1 is a synthetic agent that is similar to the body's hormone that regulates skin pigmentation.
In previous research, investigators showed MT-1 can induce tanning in human volunteers who are known to tan easily in the sun without the use of sunlight. Researchers conducted three different clinical trials to see if MT-1 is effective with sunlight. The first study included four volunteers who were given MT-1 and four who were given a placebo for 10 days. A UV-B light was used to tan the volunteers' necks. In the second study, 12 volunteers received MT-1 with a higher dosage than the first study. UV-B radiation was given to the volunteers' buttocks. And in the third study, eight volunteers were randomized into two groups. One of the groups received sunlight to their back without MT-1 and the second group got MT-1 and sunlight.
In the first study, tanning was achieved in three out of the four volunteers who received the drug. In the second study, more skin cells darkened at a higher dose of MT-1. In the third study, the tanning was greater in those on the drug, and it was maintained for three weeks longer than those not on the drug. Furthermore, the group without the drug required 50-percent more sun exposure to achieve the same tan. Researchers also say that none of the participants had any major side effects from the drug.
Thus researchers say the results show that MT-1 can be safely combined with small amounts of UV-B from a solar simulator or with brief exposure to the sun.