A consultant dermatologist has warned of the irresponsibility of some influencers in promoting “very, very dangerous” nasal sprays containing the ‘Barbie drug’ melanotan.
Consultant Dermatologist, Professor Catriona Ryan, told Newstalk Breakfast that melanotan has been in existence for about 15 years. It was traditionally sold in injectable form but has recently become more popular and is being purchased as nasal sprays.
Professor Ryan has said the “pushing of these products” by some influencers is extremely worrying.
“My colleagues are seeing more and more of this across the country and unfortunately, the reason there has been, sort of, an exponential use of it lately is influencers on social media talking about how they have got their great tan from it,” she said.
“So really, really irresponsible pushing of these products and even linking to where to get it from and who their supplier is. That is incredibly dangerous.”
“The thing is, it’s a dangerous drug. It promises a deep tan, an increase in libido, loss of appetite – it sounds far too good to be true. And it is.”
Professor Ryan is warning the public that the drug has dangerous side effects.
“There are patients who have had kidney failure, blood pressure issues and what we worry about as dermatologists is that, because it enhances your pigment producing cells to produce tan or pigment, it stimulates melanocytes, which are pigment producing cells, and there have been cases of melanoma – which is a very dangerous skin cancer which can be fatal.
It actually changes people’s moles in general. Within a couple of days or weeks of using it they will see their moles darken and that can be very dangerous.”
Professor Ryan added that because the drug is illegal, it is also “completely unregulated”.
“There was analysis done of some of these tanning sprays and outside the melanotan, there were over 100 unidentified ingredients in it,” she said.
“You actually just don’t know what you are snorting or injecting. It is very, very dangerous.”