Unlike Botox and other injectable skin care products, tanning injections are not performed by professionals in clinics. In fact, nasal injections and sprays are technically „illegal” in the UK. Melanotan is banned in most countries, including the United States and Australia. Under UK law, it is illegal to ship or sell both variants of the hormone, but it is not illegal for customers to buy it. „Because these products are distributed illegally, they are not subject to the same regulations as regular drugs,” says Dr. Wedgeworth. „It`s hard to know exactly what ingredients they contain.” In 2015, a small study found that Melanotan II, purchased from two different suppliers, contained between 4.1 and 5.9% impurities. Problems arise because the ingredients in the product are a bit sketchy, as few ingredients are listed on the actual products and the websites that support them guarantee that they are „safe” and „plant-based”. Another problem arises with the use of non-sterile needles. Sharing needles spreads diseases such as hepatitis and HIV, and unattended injections can lead to tissue and skin damage that can cause necrosis and even be life-threatening. A spokesman added: „All illegal items are strictly prohibited in our market.” Melanotan is made in various forms, such as a tanning nasal spray, but it is most often sold in the form of an injection. A number of other complications from the use of Melanotan II have been reported, including lesions, fungal infections and abscesses that may be associated with dirty needles or common needles.
A 19-year-old woman had to be hospitalized after being diagnosed with severe sinusitis. Doctors told him that inhaling the tanning product was the cause, the BBC reports, and that they had seen other patients develop similar symptoms after use. „Because these products are distributed illegally, they are not subject to the same regulations as regular drugs” – Dr. Wedgeworth Liv had the mole removed, but was diagnosed with first-stage melanoma that required surgery, leaving him with a „mailbox-sized scar” on his leg. His dermatologist told him that the injections were the probable cause. „The real problem is that we simply don`t know what effects the use of Melanotan II might have, and since it`s spreading illegally, it`s not regulated and monitored by the usual strict medical regulations,” dr. Wedgeworth puts it. Unauthorised melanotan injections and nasal sprays are illegal for sale in the UK; However, it is not illegal to use or promote these tanned products despite the health risks. In its research, the BBC found that dozens of influencers published information about the use of Melanotan-2, some even demonstrating on TikTok how to inhale the drug. Most tanning injections and nasal sprays contain Melanotan II.
Melanotan is a synthetic hormone used for tanning that increases levels of melanin, a natural dark pigment in the skin. For comparison: „Melanotan II as a tanning injection provides faster and longer-lasting results,” says skin expert Lorena Öberg. „However, Melanotan II doesn`t work without some form of UV exposure, so you need at least 20 minutes of natural sunlight a day to activate melanotan injections.” Leeds, 27, Liv, has been diagnosed with first-stage melanoma, a life-threatening skin cancer after discovering a strangely shaped mole on her thigh eight months after starting melanotan injections. For two months, she patted her stomach and went to a lounge chair that she was told would „activate” the drug. First, there was apetamine, the unlicensed supplement that promised perfect curves, but instead caused everything from extreme fatigue to liver failure to coma. Now it`s Melanotan, a „quick fix” for tanning, making headlines. There have been a number of personal reports of serious side effects on the internet, with users noticing that brown injections and nasal sprays landed them in the hospital, leaving them with severe skin discoloration and other complications such as heart irregularities. Whether these events are true or not is controversial, and the presence of other underlying factors that may have caused these problems cannot be ignored, but caution is always advised when it comes to unaccredited sources, however, many media sources have reported complications arising from the use of these products.
Social media influencers continue to promote the illegal tanning ingredient melanotan-2, which experts say is dangerous and could have long-term health effects. Melanotan is an artificial form of a natural hormone in our body called „melanocyte stimulating hormone” that stimulates the production of pigment (melanin).