Here’s the Newest, Safest Way to Tan This Summer—and No, It’s Not a Spray Tan

Forget the fake bake, once and for all! This miracle drug will tan your skin—no harmful UV rays needed.

Here's-the-Newest,-Safest-Way-to-Tan-This-Summer—And-No,-It's-Not-a-Spray-Tan-556650253-AbElenaAbElena//shutterstockThis summer, skip the tanning bed. And the spray tan. And the self-tanning lotion. Science has a new way to get that luminous, bronzed glow—and you won’t need a lick of sun.

It’s no secret that tanning is terrible for both our skin and overall health. But with swimsuit season upon us and beaches calling our name, what’s a pale person to do?

Thankfully, a team at Massachusetts General Hospital may have solved all of our pasty-skinned woes. The scientists just designed a “tanning drug” that mimics sunlight to tan the skin—no damaging UV radiation needed. Simply rubbing the drug into your skin will trick it into producing the brown form of the pigment melanin, which makes the skin darker. Plus, it could even work for the toughest demographic for tanning: redheads!

Pale problems solved, right? Well, not quite. The drug wasn’t originally made for superficial purposes. In reality, researchers say, it was intended to prevent cancer and aged skin. The melanin produced by the drug is “the body’s natural sunblock,” protecting your skin against harmful UV rays and sun damage.

“Our real goal is a novel strategy for protecting skin from UV radiation and cancer,” Dr. David Fisher, one of the researchers, told BBC News. “Dark pigment is associated with a lower risk of all forms of skin cancer—that would be really huge.”

A drug that does double duty, naturally protecting us from the sun’s damaging rays AND making us tanner? It almost seems too good to be true. Although it’s not on the market for purchase yet, let’s hope we can start slathering it on right away.

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Brooke Nelson
Brooke is a tech and consumer products writer covering the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features for