Regulator warns on unlicensed tanning products

Regulator warns on unlicensed tanning products

All products are in the form of injections and can be self-injected which means there are serious safety issues concerning needle use, such as the dangers of cross-contamination and infections. But they are being offered to people in gyms, beauty and tanning salons, as well as being sold through the internet.

The MHRA says it has received 18 reports detailing 74 separate reactions which are suspected to be side effects linked to the use of Melanotan. These include stomach and heart problems as well as blood and eye disorders.

To combat the illegal trade in these products, and to safeguard public health, the MHRA has closed down 72 websites offering to supply Melanotan to UK customers within the last three months and continues to monitor websites targeting UK consumers.

The products, called Melanotan I, Melanotan II and Ubertan, work by increasing the levels of melanin which is the body’s natural protection from the sun and result in tanned skin. However, no product has been approved for use in the UK and as unlicensed medicines, these products carry health risks and may cause possible unknown side effects.

The MHRA’s Senior Policy Advisor for Enforcement, Lynda Scammell, said: “People should not be fooled that this is a shortcut to getting a tan safely. These tanning products have not been approved for use in the UK and there are no guarantees that they are safe, of an acceptable quality or effective in use. They have the potential to cause serious side-effects, as the effect on the body to individual users is unknown.

“If you have suffered any side-effects which you suspect may have been a result of using this product or know anyone who has then please report it to us via our Yellow Card Scheme at"

Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists said: “It is worrying that people seem to be ignoring the warnings about tanning injections. There are several reports of people’s health suffering as a result of using such products, which illustrates why people should stick with safer ways of getting a tan, such as self-tanning lotions.

“The very fact that it is illegal for sale in the UK should serve as the strongest warning against injecting a substance into your body for which we don’t yet have the full safety data.”

Anyone who has bought a Melanotan product, or seen any offered for sale on a website, should contact the MHRA on 020 3080 6330 or at”




By Mark Gould


OnMedica, 30th August 2013





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