New Chinese tanning agent scare

2010-12-12 23:21

Pretoria - A new chemical tanning agent available over the internet is causing quite a scare amongst the medical fraternity. The Dermatology Society of South Africa is concerned about the unregistered experimental substance which people are injecting in order to get a tan.

The distributors of the Chinese product, Melanotan II, allege that studies also show it gives men a boost in the bedroom.

Dr Hilary Carmen, secretary of the society, said they're concerned because the substance is sold directly to the public without its safety being proven and also because it causes moles to darken.

The Medicines Act stipulates that medicines which stimulate melanin production (pigment production) in the skin must be registered, yet the distributors of the products Melanotan and Betatan state on their websites that the products are not medicines.

According to the law, substances about which medical claims are made have to be registered with the Medicines Control Council (MCC).

Melanotan and Betatan's distributors allege their products stimulate the melanocytes (cells in the skin), which stimulate melanin production.

Anelle Pohl of Steenkamp & Kilian told Beeld their products are not registered in South Africa.

She receives the product from a supplier in China and started selling it last month.

At own risk

After Beeld's questions, Pohl immediately halted all sales in order to clear the matter with the appropriate authorities.

The distributors allege Melanotan II "is sold on the international market" and "is not controlled by any medicine conventions". Both warn consumers that they are using the product at their own risk.

Betatan's spokesperson was not available for comment on his cellphone, and the distributor did not respond to e-mails. He also distributes a nasal spray which reportedly contains Melanotan II.

One of Carmen's patients who reportedly used Melanotan II had a mole which darkened to such an extent that it started to look malignant.

The society has warned that sales should be stopped until the safety of the product has been established.

There is also a related product, Melanotan I, which supposedly does not help with erections, and the patent holder reportedly registered the product in Italy this year.

Last year dermatologists warned in the British Medical Journal that untested Melanotan products bought on the internet may lead to darkening of moles which could cause diagnostic confusion.

In a second article, they warn that non-approved products could be tainted and that people who inject it for the first time could develop infections due to the re-use or sharing of needles.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the Danish, British, Norwegian, Irish and Swedish drug authorities have been warning consumers for the past four years that unregistered Melanotan products cannot be considered safe.

Several variations of the products are distributed internationally, often by Chinese suppliers.

Possible side-effects

It is reported that Melanotan II is a synthetic version of a hormone which stimulates the body's skin cells (malanocytes) to produce more melanin (pigment).

People mix the powder with water and then repeatedly inject it in the area around their navels until they achieve a tan.

Alleged side-effects include: increased libido, flushing, nausea, loss of appetite and darkening of moles.

Melanotan products or analogues thereof are apparently often distributed without the patent holders' permission.

It is unknown whether Melanotan products sold over the internet from China have been submitted to comprehensive safety and efficacy tests.


  • Gargmel Smurfeater - 2010-12-13 03:10

    If you are South African an you still use self tanning lotions an sun beds, you must be very dumb. Rather go do some work outside for a couple of hours.

      JMan - 2010-12-13 08:34

      Agree. And if you use Chinese products in the process, you are even dumber.

      Valkerie - 2010-12-13 09:29

      Easy to say that, but us fair skinned folks burn so quickly - just 5 min's out and red and sore all over! The irony is not lost on me. If there is a safe, tested and easy to use suppliment out there to strengthen resistance against sun burn, bring it on! It's not a tan I'm after but rather the cancellation of annual dermatological checks after the sunny season. The scars from mole surgery is something I can do without too. In the meantime, SPF50 remains my friend.

      Chicita - 2010-12-13 09:54

      Thats easy to say if you don't have an 8-5 office job 5 days a week. Don't get me wrong, I in no way think this product is a good idea. I'm just saying its not that easy to "do some work outside for a couple of hours" when your job requires you to be in an office all day and on weekends it rains!

      Viv - 2010-12-13 10:25

      Ever heard of skin cancer? Not so easy just to go out and 'do some work outside for a couple hours' for some people guy. Very irresponsible to go out outside for prolonged periods without sunscreen on. Hello hole in the ozone layer??!! Fake tans are a better solution to getting some colour but not this kind of Chinese crap. Sun beds are also the devil. Who cares if you have a golden skin or not. Rather live without skin cancer or looking like a leather handbag at 40.

      Ray Ray Dawg - 2010-12-14 15:52

      Work in that garden i look sexy because of it hahaha viva SA sun!

      Mj - 2010-12-15 13:18

      hear hear....obviously the product is not siuted for SA conditions.

  • Mr D - 2010-12-13 05:11

    Glow in the dark with a horing lol.....

      Wendy - 2010-12-13 08:20


  • xander.erkamp - 2010-12-13 06:58

    Great, before you know it we will have some reality TV show like The V&A Shore and guys like these will be worshipped like gods:

  • buksvdl - 2010-12-13 07:05

    I wonder?

  • Johan - 2010-12-13 07:23

    You should be careful anytime you buy chinese products!

      Mj - 2010-12-15 13:17

      we should be careful when you buy,eat or drink any south african product

  • shalestra - 2010-12-13 07:28

    "Alleged side-effects include: increased libido, flushing, nausea, loss of appetite and darkening of moles." ... So I get a tan, increase my sex drive, diet more easily and look rosy cheeked. The only one I don't like the sounds of is the nausea, but a little motillium would take care of that. Seriously these don't sound like bad side-effects at all, and until there's a study that proves the produce is unsafe then they should stop the hysteria.

      mathilda - 2010-12-13 09:31

      You have GOT to be kidding, right? Nothing out of China can be trusted, their toys contain deadly levels of lead and other hazardous materials, even their re-usable shopping bags are now proven to have lead and carcinogens in them. And people inject themselves with this "tanning" agent?? Insane. Besides, it's summer in SA now, just spend a half hour outside every day, (wash your car, work in your garden or just sit outside and get some fresh air), you'll get a beautiful natural tan without putting possible toxins in your body.

      Ray Ray Dawg - 2010-12-14 15:58

      please try it and let us know...

  • Michael - 2010-12-13 07:45

    That's Chinese prodcts for you. Even the children's clothes you buy from China have been proven to have harmful substances contained therein. I say buy South African if at possible and support the local job market.

      Wendy - 2010-12-13 08:21

      I agree

      Rhiannon - 2010-12-13 08:25

      Absolutely agree! Chinese stuff is so full of poisons and made with such abject disregard for man or nature that it's just disgusting. It is difficult to find anything not made in China these days, but I try and stay away from their vile rubbish as far as possible!

      Mj - 2010-12-15 13:21

      I disagree. I would bet you have a made in china product. The obvious one would be your cellphone,ipod,computer,your pringles shirt,your woolies clothes,your expensive watch.....

  • Werner Weber - 2010-12-13 08:20

    I bet this is made from beluga whale testicles or something

      Mj - 2010-12-15 13:15

      i would bet its designed by some swedish guy and he sent the recipe and chemicals to it china to make extreme profit.

  • Ilse - 2010-12-13 08:34

    I've been using melanotanning for 3 years and LOVE the product. I have not experience any side effects. I did get a beautiful natural brown tan. I think the media just fuzz about something that really works just like Simply slim.

      Don vitamin - 2010-12-13 11:07

      You make money off of fad diets, swindles an "supplements". Not hard to see why you'd give this a "clean bill of health" when you arent qualified to do so.

      Rhiannon - 2010-12-13 12:01

      Maybe you should get your eyes checked as well as that last brain cell

      Mj - 2010-12-15 13:23

      spend time in the garden with a friend...:))

      duits - 2010-12-15 14:25

      Shame, use all the crap, and when the the pawpaw hits the fan who you're gonna blame?

  • Bill - 2010-12-13 08:35

    Copied from - I have been using mt2 for about 18 months and got a tan like you wouldnt believe. I have often sung its praises on this forum. I had heard of people using this having eye problems but just like most of you thought it didnt apply to me. So I judged the risks to be worth it - especially as MT2 had already completed most of its testing and was apparently almost ready to be licenced. Recently the vision in my left eye went blurred . It seemed to deteriate very quickly so went to get it checked out. I was diagnosed with – serous retinopathy (CSR) and they found a nevus (mole) at the back of my eye that has never been there before. Users of MT2 will be aware in some instances of moles that wern't there before suddenly appearing on your skin - well it's exactly the same with the back of your eyes. I am told that this nevus (mole) on my retina has to be checked requently as it could turn cancerous. If you’re thinking of using mt2 take my advice DON’T after all it’s still an unlicensed drug!!!! - and its just not worth losing your sight or getting cancer. Just google MT2 and eye probs if you need to know more.

      Big Mouth - 2010-12-13 10:41

      Good luck bru. Sorry for your stress....

  • Eisenhower - 2010-12-13 09:05

    Because they make it from Rhino Horn!!

  • thatSA_guy - 2010-12-13 09:11

    People that promote, use and encourage products like these are a detriment to the human race. Its not natural, its products like this that cause long term effects disease and cancers. Our ancestors never had access to the filth and genetically produced day to day products like these, they lived long lives and most of the time died of old age. "Seriously these don't sound like bad side-effects at all...." why would you even put your body through something even knowing that there are possible side effects? Stupidity!!

  • semaj - 2010-12-13 10:36

    it sounds rather like rhino horn extract may be involved here, especially that the medication induces priapic activity. Perhaps after all the Chinese know a thing or two that has escaped us Saffas, go lick a rhino horn now and then, you will tan, and you will be able to procreate prolifically.

      Don vitamin - 2010-12-13 11:10

      Rhino horn has no effect. Most Asian medicinine is hokey rubbish. Just like beetroot and wild potatoes.

      Mj - 2010-12-15 13:13 get the same effect from staaldruppels and the dutch believe it.

  • 2centsworth - 2010-12-13 12:30

    In the beginning God made earth, the rest was made in China.....

  • Krush - 2010-12-13 14:08

    If it involves injecting yourself you should already start seeing warning signs.

  • Joe - 2010-12-13 14:10

    Whomever still don't know 'Made in China' actually means 'Lack of Quality control, probably contain poisons already banned' should learn this fact REAL fast, or else, their fate, by using theses products, is in the hands of some under funded, poorly controlled, filthy little factory manager in the middle of China where money is the only thing that count, and quality control is non-existent.

      Mj - 2010-12-15 13:11

      Definitely far from the truth

  • exocist - 2010-12-13 21:20


      Mj - 2010-12-15 13:11

      Rhino poachers,marketers,sellers and manufactures have found to ALL be educated,clever,south african vets,game farm owners,wives of vets,sons of rich miners and government officials.

      KanaMay - 2010-12-17 15:36

      HITACHI is a Japanese company, you idiot! Hitachi SA might have some South Africans as a front, but no Chinese would be allowed in to steal the technology know-how.

  • exocist - 2010-12-13 21:31


  • exocist - 2010-12-13 21:35


  • preshengovender69 - 2010-12-14 08:47

    even if you have sex with a Chinese women you will get fake aids

      darkwing - 2010-12-14 11:50


      Mj - 2010-12-15 12:55

      Coming from a indian its quite unusual for a hindu to go this far. No wonder when i go to durban i get indians of hindu origin insulting me for no i know why..

      Mj - 2010-12-15 13:01

      Do you masturbate with your left hand or right hand? dOES THE ONE YOU USE TO EAT WORK BETTER?

      Mj - 2010-12-15 13:05

      Namaste... Since your so obsessed with sex and indians eat with there right hands which works better when you masturbate.Your left or your right?

  • genet - 2010-12-14 12:54

    Why are people so unhappy with themselves. Why chance any sort of danger for looks sake, when there are so many illnesses that are devastating to people. There is just too much focus on external things, whereas if people would just develop their inner spirit they would be much happier with both themselves and everything else.Remember,' Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder'. And in S.A. with its glorious weather, lather yourself with sunscreen, and yes, work outside for a couple of hours, and get some free Vitamin D.

      Mj - 2010-12-15 13:07

      The reason they so unhappy with themselves is because of upbringing. South Africa still has effects of apartheid. Sick is it not?

      Mj - 2010-12-15 13:25

      Hear hear. They find so much wrong in others that they actually show there is a lot of wrong in themselves.

  • Ray Ray Dawg - 2010-12-14 15:56

    you people look for the wrong in everything ah the jobs ah it rains on weekends bullshit!!!! you just not up to pull the weeds out...have a braai a swim if you don't have a pool go to a dam or a venue i.e suncity wild waters humans are becoming fragile and useless lets not follow!

      Mj - 2010-12-15 12:52

      hear hear there is even danger in aluminium and plastics from reputable world wide Macdonalds but we do not go about hating americans Some of the commentators above are pure hypocrits.

  • bytjies - 2010-12-15 08:35

    "NIKS GOED KOM UIT DIE OOSTE NIE" leer ons dan nie

  • Mj - 2010-12-15 12:49

    From the sick comments below : Certain Western men and women seem to have problems with their dicks between their legs and between their ears.. Grow up

      Mj - 2010-12-15 13:28

      Golly gosh...the indian girl above sounds the most sick There is plenty of them in KZN

  • Mj - 2010-12-15 13:50

    The most dangerous skin agent that was approved by the SABS and sold like hot cakes has been the skin lightener ESKAMEL which contained mercury.It was sold to black people and also asians causing damage to their skins and offspring. This product was made and distributed by the Krok brothers who own the Gold reef city resorts.They now live happy in enormous mansions in Austrialia. So much so for the medicines act and control boards.

  • preshengovender69 - 2010-12-17 09:06

    MJ , you seriously need to get laid dude or use a vacuum clean instead

  • pages:
  • 1