After 10 years of research, scientists have come up with a drug that could help people tan without exposure to the sun, potentially reducing the risk of skin cancer.  The drug stimulates cells that produce the pigment that absorbs ultra-violet light, the researchers said in the US journal Cell Reports published on Tuesday. They stressed that further tests are needed to safeguard against potential side-effects in humans.

Applied as a cream to the skin, the drug allowed red-haired mice to develop a deep tan. Like their pale-skinned human counterparts, the mice are particularly susceptible to the damaging effects of the sun’s ultra-violet rays. The original breakthrough in mice was announced more than a decade ago, in a study published in the British journal Nature in 2006. But it has taken scientists that much time to work out how to make much thicker human skin absorb the substance. READ MORE