Dying for a tan? Dermatologist says tanning drug could be lethal

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Sun worshipers lie out baking, hoping for a healthy glow.  Some use a tanning bed to get the same effect.

Now a so-called “Barbie drug” named “Melanotan 2” is gaining popularity.

Only sold via sketchy websites, the drug it comes in powder form. Customers mix it with sterile water and inject it with a syringe.

Tampa dermatologist Doctor Seth Forman is sounding the alarm on this drug.

“If you’re dying to get tan, this tan may actually make you die,” he said.

“You’re doing something that is altering the pigment of your skin artificially. In addition, these are the cells that could potentially cause melanoma,” he added.

Melanoma, meaning skin cancer.

Emelie Abrahamson is visiting Clearwater Beach. She got a bad sunburn on a recent trip to Miami. The idea of giving herself a shot is not happening.

“I’m just scared of shots, so I would never do anything that I don’t have to do,” she said.

Melanotan 2 sellers tout fancy “before and after” pictures and talk about how safe it is.

But, you’ll find no phone numbers or addresses to contact them on their websites.

“We’re very much against people using these injectables, as well as using a tanning bed or getting fried outside in the sun,” said Forman.

Forman approves of spray tans, providing people are aware that they don’t protect from the sun’s damaging rays.

Beach goers wince at injecting Melanotan 2.

“I think for a tan, it’s not worth it,” said Mackenzie Zak.

“You could be accelerating the growth of skin cancer in your own body” said Forman, as a final warning.

Some of the websites advise users to inject this drug at bedtime, so you can sleep through the side effects. They include nausea and stomach cramps.

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