Scientists Hail Drug That Can Develop Healthy Tan

Scientists developing an implant to tackle skin conditions believe that they found a way to deliver a long-lasting tan without the risk of developing cancer.

While beachgoers around the world chased the sun's rays Sunday, British researchers claimed that the implant -- the size of a grain of rice -- would be seized on as an alternative to sunbeds, whose overuse can affect health.

Once inserted under the skin, the capsule stimulates the production of melanin, a naturally-occurring pigment that dictates skin color and the level of harmful UV radiation it absorbs. Researchers said the tan could last up to three months.

"Potentially, it does offer an alternative to commercial sunscreens, and there are lots of senior scientists who are convinced it's safe," Manchester University professor of experimental dermatology Lesley Rhodes said, adding that more research into the long-term effects of the implant was needed before it could be made available to the public.

Clinuvel, the maker of the Scenesse implant, developed it to help the millions of people who suffer from skin disorders and organ transplant patients whose anti-rejection drugs make them susceptible to skin cancer.

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