Melanotan 2 Review
Melanotan 2 commonly referred to as the “Barbie Drug” is a synthetic analogue of the peptide α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone found within the pituitary gland. It was originally developed as a sexual dysfunction drug for both men and women but has become more popularly used for “sunless” tanning.
Read on to learn everything about Melanotan 2 in Austalia in our ultimate review.
What is Melanotan 2?
Melanotan 2 is a synthetic peptide that acts as a non-selective agonist of the melanocortin receptors MC1, MC3, MC4, and MC5. It is primarily used as a tanning peptide and activates the MC1 receptor which controls the level of melanin in the skin. Increased Melanin levels of course will cause a darkening of the skin colour (tan). That’s why it’s often referred to as the tan peptide.
Originally developed in the 1960s Melanotan 2 showed incredible potential as a erectile dysfunction and sexual dysfunction treatment in men and women respectively. The early test were performed on rats but by the 1980s scientist at the University of Arizona began testing the peptide as potential sunless tanning agent and developed several analogs including Melanotan I (afamelanotide) and Melanotan II.
The two peptides were licensed separately with Melanotan 1 under the control of an Australian start-up called Epitan and Melanotan 2 Australia developed by Palatin Technologies who were pursuing it as a sexual treatment. Ironically over time Melanotan II became the peptide of choice for people looking to tan partly because of the easier access and the other beneficial effects that Melanotan 1 does not have.
What does Melanotan 2 do?
Melanotan II non-selectively mimics the action of melanocortin peptides. These are natural hormones involved with pigmentation, sexual functioning, energy homeostasis, inflammation, the immune system, and the cardiovascular system. Much like melanotan I, melanotan II stimulates the production of eumelanin, causing the skin to go darker.
The process is called melanogenesis which occurs when the peptide stimulates the mc1 receptor (Melanocortin 1 Receptor) which in term stimulates Melanocyte, skin cells that are neural crest-derived melanin-producing located at in the bottom layer of skin as well as the eye, inner ear, vaginal epithelium, meninges, bones and heart.
The action spectrum of sunburn and melanogenesis are virtually identical causing a tan without needing the exposure of harmful UV radiation. In addition melanocytes are considered immune cells although the role of melanocytes in the immune response is not fully understood, but is considered to have a positive effect on the immune system nonetheless. Melanocytes also play a role in the sexual system but again the exact role is not fully understood. It is commonly used as a treatment for females with sexual arousal disorder and Melanotan 2 in Australia was further developed into a new peptide (bremelanotide) which has been clinically tested as a potent stimulator for male erections.
Since the melanocortin system is important for controlling body weight, the use of melanotan increases oxidation in fatty acids which improves insulin sensitivity, requiring less food to feel full and helps the body flush out fats which can assist with calorie deficit dieting and fat loss.
Tan Peptide in the Media
Brits Buy it Cheap (Sep 2019 thesun.co.uk)
The Sun looks at the ease of acquiring and the widespread use of Melanotan 2 in the UK. Again they refer to it as the Barbie Drug but present many opinions on it such as the claim from the University of Arizona that Melanotan II protects you from skin cancer as you are less likely to burn.
Concerns about side effects and safety feature prominently in particular the sterile conditions and proper use of needles with tanning injections. They also have health professionals speaking about reducing the demand of this tan peptide blaming social media and social pressure for the widespread use.
Dr Emma Craythorne from the British Association of Dermatologists said: “In many ways it sounds like a great thing to take. You can get a tan and lose weight while taking it.
“It causes the body to make more of a pigment called eumelanin.
“It’s this pigment that makes your skin appear tanned. Normally it is a response to damage to DNA caused by ultraviolet radiation.
Melanotan 2 - Is it Safe? (Mar 2022 medicalnewstoday.com)
A deep dive into the safety of Melanotan 2, speaking to a number of different doctors and researchers in trying to determine how safe Melanotan 2 is to use.
The article looks into the impact of social media influencers on the use of the peptide, potential health effects and whether or not it is a useful tanning solution.
The article takes a cautionary approach to Melanotan 2 use, advising towards methods of tanning with safer outcomes.
Barbie Drug (Feb 2017 news.com.au)
A fairly negative article showcasing the severe consequences of using Melanotan 2 Australia. However it is completely one-sided and sensationalised to generate interest. They use 3 examples to prove their point:
- A young lady who is in remission from skin cancer caused by tanning beds became hospitalised when she started using the peptide
- A UK women who had turned black on some parts of her skin and abscesses on her stomach from overdosing on the drug.
- A 16 year old who overdosed as well as used tanning beds 2-3 times a week. She had potentially malignant moles on her body but thankfully they lightened and her chance of melanoma reduced after discontinuing use.
PEOPLE obsessed with having a tan are injecting a scary drug that could slowly kill them.
Results of Research Studies
A 16-year-old girl presented with general skin tanning, multiple dark melanocytic nevi and an enlarging nevus in her left groin following self-injections of Melanotan 2 and attending a UV tanning studio.
The treatment involved removal of the nevus in the groin, ceasing tanning injections and solarium use and education on the proper application of sunscreen. The patient ceased injections but still used a solarium for 10 minutes a week and was reviewed 3 months later. The patients skins appeared paler, the moles became lighter and the lesion that was removed was classified as dysplastic (containing abnormal cells).
In 1996 a pilot study was conducted for Melanotan II. A single blind placebo-controlled study was carried out on 3 normal male volunteers. Subcutaneous tanning injections of Melanotan or Saline were given daily for 2 weeks. 2 subjects were given a dose of 0.1mg and increased to 0.3mg with the non placebo subjects experiencing fatigue, penile erections, yawning complex as well as increased pigmentation as measured by quantitative reflectance and visual perception.
Sexual Problems Study
A 2009 study into alleviating the problems of men with erectile dysfunction investigated the use of melanocyte agonists, of which melanotan 2 is one. The peptide was administered subcutaneously and participants were observed by Rigiscan (a non invasive erection diagnostic tool) in their own homes for several hours afterwards. Participants were advised to deliberately avoid sexually stimulating material during this time.
Melanotan 2 Results – Before & After
Date: September 2016
First thing the poster has ever used. Would split the dosage to 0.5mg and inject shortly before sun exposure. Didn’t get any moles but had freckles darken as well as nausea for a few hours after injecting and strong erections at unusual times. He stopped feeling nauseous after about 10 doses.
Date: April 2012
Depeche has been using melanotan for 7 years in the summer season. Hasn’t had any side effects, and one mole on the back that hasn’t changed. Likes to begin dosing at 0.250 eventually upping it to 0.500mg.
I have had 0 bad effects from it, only good ones. From beeing pale as paper, to being a nice bronze typical beach guy, no need for spf, laying on my floating bed mid ocean all day. Best feeling in the world!
Date: April 2016
Derek is a self confessed quasi albino who as you can imagine, struggles to tan naturally. He has compiled a lot of useful information about Melanotan 2 and detailed his user experience with the product. He gives an open, honest assessment of the pros and cons of his time with Melanotan 2.
Within 3 weeks of moderate sun exposure and Melanotan II administration, “my rats” (code for himself) looked 100x darker than they could have ever become naturally.
Results increased in a dose dependent manner during my experiments.
However side effects were seen in my testers at higher dosages too.
Is Melanotan 2 Legal in Australia?
Melanotan 2 is not included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) and have not been assessed for quality, safety or efficacy by the TGA.
It is illegal to advertise and supply these products in Australia, since their use has proven serious side effects that can be very damaging to one’s health.
Melanotan-I (Afamelanotide) and Melanotan II are listed in Schedule 4 (prescription-only medicines) of the Poisons Standard. This means they require close regulation and monitoring by the TGA and medical authorities, and have the potential to cause harm if not used under the supervision and instruction of a health professional.
Melanotan 2 Dosage and How to Use?
When reconstituted with sterile water or bacteriostatic water, the melanotan 2 peptide becomes effective. Reconstituting the tanning peptide is a part of the process for use and will require full attention to get proper results. 1-2ml sterile water will reconstitute the peptides. Diluting with more volume will improve dosing accuracy. Here is a quick video demonstrating the process.
The Fitzpatrick Skin Chart
In order to fully measure the differences between fairer skin tones and darker ones, the Fitzpatrick skin type chart organizes them into one of six categories, making it easy to identify those who are at greater risk for skin cancer and make keeping track of tanning efforts easy.
|Fitzpatrick Skin Type||Description|
|I||Very fair. Always burn, never tans.|
|II||Fair skin, always burns but occasionally tans.|
|III||Medium skin, sometimes burns, always tans.|
|IV||Olive skin, rarely burns, always tans.|
|V||Modestly pigmented brown skin. Never burns.|
|VI||Definite pigment, never burns, always tans.|
Depending on the user’s skin type, dosage for a full tanning season (3 months, typically), will vary. These are the most commonly advised dosages based upon skin type according to the Fitzpatrick Scale.
Appropriate 3 month Melanotan 2 dosage chart after loading phase:
|I||30 to 50mg|
|II||20 to 30mg|
|III-VI||10 to 20mg|
The initial phase is typically rather small. 0.25mg is a sufficient amount to gauge how your body will react to Melanotan. To avoid any potential nausea, the dosage should be applied prior to going to sleep. Upon waking, any problems will be manifested and will be easier to treat.
Loading phase can begin once the body has shown that it will not be adversely affected by Melanotan. A loading dose can be injected once per day and will usually consist of an amount between 0.5mg and 1mg. User feedback from this injection range is of positive results with darkening skin pigmentation. If days are missed through the loading phase, it does not require a full reset of the program which will accommodate those with travel plans or the forgetful.
Once the desired pigmentation has been acquired, maintenance dosages can be attributed on a weekly basis. They are typically two to three times larger than the loading dose due to their infrequent application. A simple example shows Betty injecting 0.5mg per day, combined with a sunbed session every second day. Once her optimal pigmentation had been achieved, she began to take a maintenance dose of Melanotan once a week at 1mg per dose.
Melanotan is not a miracle skin colour changer. The body will still require exposure to UV light in order for the Melanotan to function. This can be achieved through natural sunlight or a tanning bed. It does act as an accelerant for the process so caution will need to be taken to the duration of time that the skin is exposed. Covering the body appropriately whilst deliberately tanning will ensure an even darkening of skin pigment. As a tan can unexpectedly develop, dosing should be done gradually and carefully to ensure the optimal tan is achieved..
Burning is still a serious risk despite the use of Melanotan 2 Australia. The peptide will not act as sunscreen, natural or otherwise, to the body. The skin should only be exposed to the sun or tanning bed for the amount of time it can handle without becoming burnt. As the skin tone begins to darken through Melanotan use, the body should gradually be able to extend the amount of time it is exposed to UV light.