Scientists Discover A New, Safe Way To Tan And Lighten Your Skin

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Throughout the centuries, people have used various methods to achieve achieve a darker or lighter complexion. In the Western world, people often lay in the sun to get achieve a tanned look, or they use artificial methods to achieve a darker skin tone. In the United States alone, artificial tanning is a $2 billion per year industry. In Asia, things are reversed; it is not uncommon to see women at the beach with umbrellas to shield their skin from exposure to the sun, and skin-lightening creams are very popular.

But there are risks associated with these popular skin darkening and bleaching methods that many users either disregard or do not know about. Creams designed to lighten the skin can have toxic chemicals like hydroquinone or even mercury, and some spray-on tan products contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is thought to be linked to cancer. Tanning beds, which darken the skin through the use of ultraviolet light (UV) radiation, have also been definitively linked to an increased risk of skin cancers like melanoma.

There is also the fact that people just like being in the sun. Sun exposure, whether it is through basking in sunlight, playing sports, or just spending time doing anything outdoors, is just a fact of life. Our bodies need sunlight in order promote vitamin D synthesis, an essential nutrient. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common among people living in industrialized countries and has been linked to a great number of diseases and even psychological conditions like depression. Yet, as we all know, too much sunlight can lead to sunburns, which can increase a person’s chances of developing skin cancer later in life.

So what is the solution for those who want to brighten or tan their skin? It really seems like the proverbial “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” choice.

Luckily, it appears scientists may have discovered a completely new way to darken or lighten the skin, based a factor not many people would suspect: Hormones.

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