Thursday, September 21, 2006

A sunless tan!

Scientists have developed a cream that switches on the tanning machinery in skin cells. They have tested this new cream on mice and successful given them a tan without exposing them to the sun. From BBC:
The researchers genetically engineered fair-skinned, red-haired mice who did not tan when exposed to low levels of UV radiation, but did burn when the dose was cranked up.

They then treated the skin of the animals with a compound known to increase cAMP levels.

The compound, forskolin, is derived from the root of the forskohli plant found in India.

The mice turned dark, proving that melanocytes in redheads can make pigment if appropriately stimulated.

Further experiments showed that this sunless tanning process was virtually indistinguishable from that in dark-haired mice that tan naturally.

The researchers also found that the tans acquired through forskolin treatment protected the skin against cancer caused by exposure to UV light.

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