The quest for the perfect tan can result in hyperpigmentation, premature aging, and ultimately, skin cancer. Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, is responsible for nearly 8,000 deaths each year in the U.S. alone. In an effort to look tan without exposure to UV rays, many people have turned to self-tanning lotions. These lotions produce the look of a suntan by dyeing the skin, but they do not produce the protective qualities of a real tan.
The journal Nature recently published the findings of a study which may hold the key to creating a tanning cream which creates a real tan, not just a skin dye, by stimulating the production of melanin. The cream would not only produce a beautiful tan, but would help in preventing skin cancer.
The key ingredient is forskolin, a substance derived from the root of the coleus forskohlii plant, found in India. More research, probably several years worth, will be necessary before the cream will be available to the public, but the discovery has conquered an aspect of skin cancer research which until now seemed unsolvable.