IMB issues warning over tanning injections at salons or bought on internet


The Irish Medicines Board has warned people against getting tanning injections at tanning salons or using similar unauthorised tanning products bought over the internet.

The board made the warning after medical staff reported that a 33-year-old woman had recently visited St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin with several new irregular moles on her skin after receiving two injections of the so-called “Barbie doll” tanning drug Melanotan at a beautician’s practice.

In the current edition of the Irish Medical Journal, the medical staff sounded a cancer warning over the use of such a product, stating that the case highlighted the potential risk of “possibly malignant melanoma” in receiving Melanotan injections.

They point out that Melanotan is 1,000 times more powerful than the naturally occurring hormone that brings about tanning.

In this case, the woman reported significant tanning within days of receiving the injections but after the first week reported multiple new darkly pigmented irregular moles appearing on her skin. She also noticed existing moles had become darker and she identified a new mole on her right thigh that was much darker than the others, measuring 4x4mm.

The report from the dermatology and pathology departments at St Vincent’s Hospital showed that the lesion was removed and was found to be benign. Melanotan is not licensed for use in the EU, while the Food and Drug Administration in the US has banned its use stating that there is no evidence to state that it is safe or effective for its labelled uses.