Pills that promise to speed up or enhance your natural tan could be extremely dangerous, experts warn.
The products, which are already available online and on the high street for less than five dollars, are designed to give users a “sun-kissed glow.”
But they can actually cause hives and hives, stomach cramps, diarrhea, blurred vision and loss of vision, doctors say.
Many of the tablets contain beta-carotene, which gives carrots their orange color.
Others contain ingredients like canthaxanthin, L-tyrosine, copper, lutein and astaxanthin.
Once swallowed, these additives supposedly spread throughout the body and change skin color.
However, some of the ingredients, when taken in higher doses, can trigger liver problems or even increase the risk of lung cancer, according to a small research group.
Dr. Rachel Ward, an NHS GP from Oxfordshire, said: “Tanning pills contain large amounts of color additives such as beta-carotene, which then build up in the body and cause the skin and eyes to turn orange.”
“Although some of these chemicals are approved in small amounts as food colorings, they are not approved in larger doses in such pills.
“Tanning pills are therefore an unregulated product.”
“Like all unregulated products, they can cause harm and no product can be identified as safer or better than another.”
“Complications include liver damage and vision problems due to chemical buildup in the eyes.”
The Sun examined a number of legal but unregulated “tanning accelerators” on the market.
A bottle of 180 capsules, which sells for £18.95 on Amazon, is advertised as being “specifically formulated for developing a golden tan”.
Another product, available from Holland & Barrett for £5.50, contains para-aminobenzoic acid, L-tyrosine and copper and apparently helps you “build your glow gently and safely”.
A third product listed on supplement website Mium Lab even claims to “prevent sun-related damage and aging.”
Other so-called “bronze boosters” sold on sites that rank high after a Google search claim that they “support a deeper, darker tan” and are “ideal for pale skin or for a longer-lasting tan.” are to get longer-lasting, sun-tanned skin”. “kissed shine”.
But whatever the alleged benefits, Dr. Ward said: “My advice would be that everyone should avoid these pills.”
There is very little evidence that any of the ingredients can actually help develop a tan.
And some studies have shown that the ingredients in it are potentially harmful when taken in higher doses.
For example, taking too much beta-carotene can cause vitamin A toxicity if it is not consumed through diet.
Symptoms vary but often include headache, itching, drowsiness, bulging eyeballs, irritability, abdominal pain, jaundice, nausea and vomiting, according to Healthline.
Possible complications of vitamin A toxicity include osteoporosis and kidney and liver damage.
An overload of synthetic beta-carotene has also been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers or people exposed to asbestos.
A 2019 study of 29,000 smoking men published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research found an 18 percent increase in lung cancer among those who took 20 mg of beta-carotene daily for five to eight years.
Beta-carotene pills advertised for tanning typically contain around 7 mg.
Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1996 found that taking 30 mg of the drug plus 25,000 units of retinol (a form of vitamin A) daily for four years was associated with a 28 percent higher risk if you develop the disease if you have smoked or been exposed to asbestos in the past.
My advice would be that everyone should avoid these pills.
Dr. Rachel Ward
Angela Tewari, consultant dermatologist and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation, told MailOnline: “The organic form of beta-carotene is found in certain fruits and vegetables.”
“It is marketed to change skin color and in certain doses can cause skin to turn orange or brown.
“The problem is that synthetic forms of beta-carotene are linked to lung cancer in high doses, particularly in smokers, and it is very difficult to determine the correct dosage when using these products.”
“This means that the dosage of these pills is often far too high for our bodies, especially if one accidentally takes an extra pill or wants a deeper color change. This can actually be very dangerous.”
She added that canthaxanthin is approved in small amounts, such as in food coloring, but there are no guidelines for safe dosage.
“Canthaxanthin-containing pills are banned in the United States because they are associated with fatal blood counts and liver inflammation,” said Dr. Tewari.
The American Cancer Society added: “At the high concentrations used in tanning pills, they can be harmful.”
“Canthaxanthin can appear in your eyes as yellow crystals, which can cause injury and affect vision.
“There have also been reports of liver and skin problems.
“Tanning accelerators such as lotions or pills that contain the amino acid tyrosine or its derivatives do not work and can be dangerous.”
“Marketers say these products stimulate the body’s natural tanning process, but most evidence suggests they don’t work.”
“The Food and Drug Administration considers them unapproved new drugs that have not been proven to be safe and effective.”
A spokesperson for Holland & Barrett said the quality and safety of its products is “at the heart of everything we do.”
They added: “We provide clear guidance on the safe use of our products and issue warnings where appropriate, and work closely with suppliers, regulators and our trade associations to ensure that the products we supply are marketed with the correct information and clearly listed ingredients .” “
An Amazon representative said: “We require that all products offered in our store comply with applicable laws and regulations.”
The Sun understands it is currently investigating the sale of tanning products on its website.
Mium Lab has been contacted for comment.