Topical drug darkens human skin in a dish without UV

Researchers in Boston have developed a class of small molecules that successfully penetrates and darkens human skin samples in the laboratory. The drug also generates protective tans in red-haired mice, which are more susceptible to skin cancer via ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The molecule works by stimulating cells to produce more UV-absorbing pigments, but more preclinical tests need to be done before it is proven safe in humans. The study appears in the journal Cell Reports.

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