The drug, which is applied directly to the skin, works by triggering the production of melanin—the brown pigment released on exposure to UV (in other words, the body’s inbuilt sunscreen). Unlike fake tan, which coats us with bronze, this would darken skin from the inside out.
The more melanin present in the skin, the more protection you have from damaging rays, which is why those with paler complexions have a greater risk of developing skin cancer. In particular, this drug could be a real game changer for redheads, as it appears to have a potent darkening effect on even the lightest skin colors.
Of course the researchers behind the drug aren’t suggesting you ditch the factor 30. Sunscreen is essential, they told the BBC, but its shortcoming is that it “keeps you pale.” With this new product you could potentially use an unfathomably high SPF factor every single day and still rock a tan that says “I’ve just spent 10 days in the Caribbean.”
Before you get too excited, you won’t be using it on your next vacation. Tests are still ongoing, but absolutely no dodgy side-effects have been revealed as of yet. So far, so good.