Health Warnings

TikTok Trend Sees People Snorting Dangerous Tanning Product

Social media influencers are being called out for sharing their dangerous secret to the ‘perfect tan’. It starts with the tanning product known as Melanotan (not be to confused with sleep aide Melatonin). Influencers are either snorting Melanotan drops or using a Melanotan nasal spray to achieve a tan.

Both products are not approved for marketing or sale in Australia, but, it’s still possible to get them online illegally.

What is Melanotan? 

Melanotan is a lab-made chemical used for skin tanning (among other things, like ED and fibromyalgia).  It’s meant to replicate the melanocyte-stimulating hormone in our bodies which is responsible for skin pigmentation. 

tanning product warning - melanotan
The tanning product is designed to ‘trick’ the body into producing skin-darkening pigments. Source: TikTok

In the United States, Melanotan is available as a shot, drop or nasal spray and is sometimes known as the “Barbie” drug.

Influencers slammed for promoting Barbie drug 

Many influencers are now promoting these products to their fans.

“A nasal spray a day keeps the paleness away,” Georgia Fox (@georgiafox11) told her 91,800 followers on TikTok.

@notchessie said to her 121,900 followers: “Nasal tanning spray always has my back when I need a goood [sic] tan”.

@meabhk told her 14,000 TikTok followers: “Love my tan nasal sprays. Unreal. You need.”

And this is just a tiny snippet of what’s out there. There are hashtags and pages dedicated to the Melatanon craze.

‘Incredibly unsafe and unregulated product’

The issue is that Melanotan isn’t something anyone should be promoting.

Slater and Gordon public liability lawyer, Lily Boskovski, expressed concern over influencers pushing this unsafe drug. 

“Melanotan is being pushed as a quick way to tan your skin, but it’s actually an incredibly unsafe and unregulated product,” she said. “No one should be risking their health and wellbeing for the perfect tan.”

It pays to question what is being promoted online and to only use a drug if it has been prescribed by a health professional for a specific health condition.”

Melanotan is not listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, and has not been assessed for quality, safety or efficacy by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). It is sometimes sold as “Ubertan”.

The TGA has issued warnings about the dangers of about buying unapproved products online as quality and safety simply cannot be guaranteed.

Melanotan dangerous side effects 

It’s been proven to leave users with increased moles and freckles, vomiting, loss of appetite, involuntary stretching and yawning, and spontaneous erections.

Users in the United Kingdom have also reported acne, kidney, brain and heart problems.

Unfortunately, many TikTok viewers don’t realise the dangers involved in Melanotan. They simply see a pretty model with a nice tan and think, “Hh, sweet, I wanna try that”. This can be particularly dangerous for our impressionable tweens and teens.

Our advice is if you do have TikTok kids in your home, have a quick chat with them about Melanotan and why it’s not a good idea to snort it up your nose. I mean, snorting anything up your nose isn’t really advised, even if an Influencer suggests otherwise.

More dangerous TikTok trends to be aware of

While we’re on the topic of TikTok trends, here are a few more to be aware of:

Black Out Challenge

This particular viral challenge encourages people to see how long they can hold their breath. Also known as the Passout Challenge, Speed Dreaming, Fainting Game or the Game of Choking, the game basically encourages young children to lose consciousness.

Several children have died from this ‘game’ and it’s probably one of the most common dangerous challenges still circulating on social media.

Blue Whale Challenge

mum central
The Mickey Mouse man is allegedly the face of the Blue Whale Challenge. Source: Twitter

This challenge encourages teens to complete 50 challenges in 50 days, the last being suicide. It allegedly started in Russia in 2016 and has allegedly been linked to hundreds of deaths.

Parents should be aware of:

  • Any messages that relate to a person called Jonathan Galindo.
  • Any messages from a person with his face painted as either Mickey Mouse or a dog. 
  • Messages that make reference to #f57, #f40 or #IMaWhale”.
  • Any change in sleeping or eating habits.
  • Wearing long-sleeved clothing to disguise self-harm.
  • Taking and uploading photographs of activities and sending them to accounts that you don’t recognise.

Skull Breaking Challenge

Essentially the challenge involves two people tricking a third person into jumping into the air and then kicking their feet out from under them. This is also known as the Trip Jump Challenge.

The person being tripped has a very good chance of landing on his skull. Kids have been knocked unconscious and there have been reports of two deaths abroad.

Keeping your kids safe

Below are a few suggestions for keeping your kids safe.

  1. Be aware – Knowing what dangerous TikTok trends are out there is your best defense.
  2. Check-in with them – Talk to them about what they are watching, seeing, etc. Remind them that social media and real-life are very different!
  3. Set limits – If their social media habits are getting out of control, set limits or take the devices away.

While having the internet at our kids’ fingertips can be good for many reasons, it can also be a recipe for disaster. Impressionable and impulsive teens, thousands of opinions and stupid ideas, all only a click away. It’s so important that we are keeping an eye on our kids’ social media use and that they understand the limits and dangers involved.

If you need help, please contact one of these services

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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