It’s never too late if you tan the new Australian way?with a skin implant that gives you an all-over tan with only one dose, by triggering the production of the dark pigment melanin in the skin. It also protects you when you do get to the beach, because melanin is the body?s natural sunscreen. Half of all Australians will develop skin cancer during their lives, which explains why the implant was developed there. When it was tested on dogs, they grew jet black fur.

Melanotan will be a match-sized implant that is put under your skin. Each 30-day dose will cost around a hundred dollars and one dose per year will be enough to get a nice tan. The drug cost $10 million to develop and will cost another $70 million to get approved, and should be available in 2005.

At first the drug will only be available by prescription, but eventually it will reach drugstore shelves, which will cut into the profits of tanning salons. Patrick Holly, of the Australian Solarium Association, says, “You have the choice of lying down for 20 minutes and having a snooze in a relaxed quiet atmosphere as opposed to having an intrusive operation to get medication stuck under your skin. That is a choice people have to make.” In a few years, if you can?t get to the beach until after Labor Day, you?ll still be able to get your summer tan.

Meanwhile, stay out of those harmful rays and read a good book. One you won?t be able to put down is ?The Mystery of the Crystal Skulls? by Chris Morton and Ceri Thomas, click here.

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