The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-18-2008, 11:54 PM
Amazon Floozy Goddess Amazon Floozy Goddess is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Is there a medication that will darken the skin?

This might be a stupid question, but I have no idea if such a thing could exist or not, so I figured it was worth asking.

I am very pale. This might not be so irritating to me if I wasn't part Native. I constantly have people, Native and non-Native alike, comment on how pale I am. I have tried since I was a kid to tan; I only burn. After I burn, it peels and it's pale underneath again. I've tried the rub-on tanners, all different brands, and lots of very expensive ones, but I'm so pale that it only makes me look fake-tan orange. My dad had melanoma a few years ago (he's ok now), which makes my risk of skin cancer much higher, so even trying to tan naturally is not just futile for me, it's dangerous.

Frankly, I'm sick of it and would gladly take a medication that would darken my skin (uniformly, of course), just to get people to shut the hell up. Does such a thing exist?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 08-19-2008, 12:08 AM
LiveOnAPlane LiveOnAPlane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
I don't know what was used, but there was a long-ago nonfiction book called "Black Like Me" where a Caucasian guy took something that made his skin as dark as an African-American's and he wrote about his experiences. It was a very interesting read, but I don't remember what was used.

It must have been pretty effective, though, and maybe this will give you a starting place.

ETA: I found it on Wikipedia--
Quote:
under the care of a dermatologist, Griffin underwent a regimen of large oral doses of the anti-vitiligo drug Oxsoralen and spending up to fifteen hours daily under an ultraviolet lamp. (Vitiligo is a disease that causes lightening of the skin and is most noticeable among people of African ancestry.)

Last edited by LiveOnAPlane; 08-19-2008 at 12:12 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-19-2008, 12:10 AM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Yep - the anti-vitiligo drug Oxsoralen as taken by John Griffin in preparation to write his book Black Like Me.

My understanding is that it's rather bad for you though (liver damage I think) so that may not be the best bet.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-19-2008, 12:13 AM
susan susan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
What did the author use in Black Like Me?


ETA: Never mind.

Last edited by susan; 08-19-2008 at 12:13 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-19-2008, 12:49 AM
Washoe Washoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
I remember reading somewhere (might have been his obit) that his death a decade or two later was actually caused by the long-term aftereffects of his having used this drug. Dunno if itís true or not.

Those of you who were devotees of Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw back in the eighties will undoubtedly remember canthaxanthin. It supposedly turns your skin a lovely albeit weirdass shade of bronzeish-pink.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-19-2008, 01:01 AM
Washoe Washoe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Washoe
Dunno if itís true or not.
Snopes sez nopes.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-19-2008, 03:01 AM
chorpler chorpler is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Vegas, baby!
Posts: 3,326
But it sounds like taking Oxsoralen by itself isn't enough -- you would still have to undergo a regimen of massive UV exposure, right?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-19-2008, 03:54 AM
Omniscient Omniscient is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Posts: 16,535
I find it mind-boggling that you think a little time in the sun's side effects are too dangerous but you'll consider a long term, regular drug regimen?

I think the wisest solution is very slow, controlled doses of good olde UV radiation. 15 minutes in a tanning bed at a time. 30 minutes laying outdoors. Give yourself a day off in between. You won't burn and you will tan eventually, but it takes time and consistency just as if you were working out. If those exposures cause a burn then back off to shorter and even more frequent doses.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-19-2008, 07:09 AM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Howdy
Posts: 16,069
You could go in for some major tattooing:

http://huhwow.com/data2/Sync/200710/...odyart_053.jpg
http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/sh..._300x381,2.jpg (Mildly NSFW)
http://www.eqgroup.com/images/Tattoo-women.jpg (Mildly NSFW)

Won't make you less pale, but people will be too distracted to comment, and you can get it to look native just fine if you find the right artist.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 08-19-2008 at 07:12 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-19-2008, 09:05 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 36,131
AMG are we related? I have Native American ancestors, and my older brother is very dark, yet I am as pale as a non-albino person can be. I tell my brother that he used up all the Native genes.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 08-19-2008, 10:38 AM
Angel of Doubt Angel of Doubt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Just like the OP I've been searching for a solution to the "pale" problem. If you don't tan, you don't tan, and no amount of sun will do it. A few years ago my skin bothered me so much I was considering the vitiligo drug. I even tried asking for it at a dermatologists', to no avail. Most of the self-tanners don't work very well on me either. Amazon Floozy Goddess, I've heard that airbrush tanning is awesome and I will try it when I have the money.

What happened to the "Barbie" pill that was being tested in Australia?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 08-19-2008, 11:08 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 24,281
You could do collidal silver if you don't mind being blue.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 08-19-2008, 11:13 AM
Hazle Weatherfield Hazle Weatherfield is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
This may qualify as "duh!", but virtually any amount of tanning of the skin is bad. A tanned skin is damaged skin, I believe. I know that it's good for you to get about 10-15 minutes a day for vitamin D (I think?), but once the skin has turned brown, damage has occurred. Please let me know if I'm wrong, though!
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 08-19-2008, 11:40 AM
vetbridge vetbridge is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage Rat
You could go in for some major tattooing:
Actually, I have been looking into this. A few years ago I lost all the pigment on my hands, knees, and a few other patches due to vitiligo. I spend a ton of time outdoors, and have been using SPF50 sunscreen and kayaking gloves. Any sun exposure makes the areas burn.

I am thinking about having the backs of my hands tattooed a light brown, to match how they were before vitiligo.

From this site:
Quote:
Surgical options for treatment include skin grafts (full or partial thickness) from pigmented areas of the body to areas of vitiligo. In addition, physicians use iron oxide pigment to "tattoo" the areas of vitiligo to match the surrounding pigmented skin. Several experimental techniques are under investigation including dermabrasion (roughing up the skin) and transplantation.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 08-19-2008, 06:10 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Dogpatch/Middle TN.
Posts: 29,548
How about Green?

A little Gamma Bomb blast would not only give you great color, but pecs from hell.
__________________
ďA life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory."
~~~~~Leonard Nimoy,
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 08-19-2008, 06:40 PM
Fubaya Fubaya is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
I don't tan very well either. I decided long ago that it's not worth the time to try to get a tan. I'd be careful with synthetic tans, you could end up like these guys
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 08-19-2008, 07:20 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Obama Country
Posts: 5,478
I have to say that I find this one, along with the people who want to get rid of their freckles, really hard to understand. I am extremely, ghostly pale, and I have freckles. I have never thought of either of those two things as anything but unique and cool. Even if you're part Native, that's in your genes, and only a tiny bit of your genetic code is expressed in your physical appearance. In various cultures (Victorian England is only one example), pale has been prized. Think of a Japanese actress wearing stark white makeup to heighten her beauty. These days, with knowledge of skin cancer, pale skin is sign of health as well as a certain kind of beauty.

The next time someone comments on your pale skin, just say, "Yes, isn't it lovely? I'm so glad that I have this beautiful alabaster complexion." In 50 years, when we're forced to spend all our time inside or heavily shaded from the sun to avoid severe burns, everyone will want to look like we do.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 08-19-2008, 08:29 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 27,691
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel of Doubt
Just like the OP I've been searching for a solution to the "pale" problem. If you don't tan, you don't tan, and no amount of sun will do it. A few years ago my skin bothered me so much I was considering the vitiligo drug. I even tried asking for it at a dermatologists', to no avail. Most of the self-tanners don't work very well on me either. Amazon Floozy Goddess, I've heard that airbrush tanning is awesome and I will try it when I have the money.

What happened to the "Barbie" pill that was being tested in Australia?
Airbrush tanning works but is no protection, of course.

There are pills that contain carrot extract. They make you slightly orange.

Eat more carrots, then. Not too many mind you.
__________________
I am not a real Doctor
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 08-19-2008, 08:47 PM
Queen Bruin Queen Bruin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpoilerVirgin
I have to say that I find this one, along with the people who want to get rid of their freckles, really hard to understand. I am extremely, ghostly pale, and I have freckles. I have never thought of either of those two things as anything but unique and cool. Even if you're part Native, that's in your genes, and only a tiny bit of your genetic code is expressed in your physical appearance. In various cultures (Victorian England is only one example), pale has been prized. Think of a Japanese actress wearing stark white makeup to heighten her beauty. These days, with knowledge of skin cancer, pale skin is sign of health as well as a certain kind of beauty.

The next time someone comments on your pale skin, just say, "Yes, isn't it lovely? I'm so glad that I have this beautiful alabaster complexion." In 50 years, when we're forced to spend all our time inside or heavily shaded from the sun to avoid severe burns, everyone will want to look like we do.
Quoted for truth. And someone, somewhere wishes they had your very skin tone. I struggled during my teen years with my light olive complexion, owing at least partially I'm sure to being in an area where I was conspicuously brown and treated to a variety of questions and comments about my ethnicity ranging from the curious to the rude to the downright derogatory. My husband is the opposite - having been raised in East LA, he yearns for a tan feeling entirely too pale in comparison to the regional standard. I think I finally talked him away from the sunless tanner after I took him into natural light with a big mirror (because 8 years of praising his beautiful complexion did jack shit of course).

Love yourself and shine 'em on.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 01-08-2016, 05:31 AM
candlesnstones candlesnstones is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
perhaps you are normal and its others who have issues. im certain time will show this to be true... to be bombarded with negative energy constantly would be irritating and if you can take this energy and funnel it towards something or shunt it... *sigh* youll figure it out
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 01-08-2016, 09:10 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
AMG are we related? I have Native American ancestors, and my older brother is very dark, yet I am as pale as a non-albino person can be. I tell my brother that he used up all the Native genes.
Interestingly, I saw a play and then an interview with the playwriter, who was native. Apparently northern aboriginals can have a wide variation of skin tone, and the play depicted life on a northern reserve in Canada, where some Cree(?) would use the description "nigger" to refer to fellow aboriginals who were darker. (They did have TV there...) Even though, most of the people on an isolated reserve share the same gene pool there was a noticeable skin variation, apparently.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 01-08-2016, 09:24 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Some have claimed that if you eat a lot of beta carotene you'll turn orange. The idea being with some minimal tanning you'll end up with a fairly dark skin. I have no idea if that works or if that much beta carotene is bad for you.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 01-08-2016, 09:30 AM
pool pool is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Apparently thousands of people in the UK use something called Melanotan II

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanotan_II

It's something you inject I'm not sure if it works but there are some really frightening before and after pictures online of the stuff if you google it, it appears that maybe it does work, but it hasn't been proven safe and who knows maybe it will give those people full body melanoma a few years from now.

Oh and it apparently it has a side effect of causing raging boners!

Last edited by pool; 01-08-2016 at 09:32 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 01-08-2016, 09:58 AM
botsgotme botsgotme is offline
Suspended
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 468
Why not some kind of long lasting skin dye? that should be a safe way of doing it.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 01-08-2016, 11:49 AM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is offline
Robot Mod in Beta Testing
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 12,760
Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Some have claimed that if you eat a lot of beta carotene you'll turn orange. The idea being with some minimal tanning you'll end up with a fairly dark skin. I have no idea if that works or if that much beta carotene is bad for you.
I've seen pictures of people who have eaten ungodly numbers of carrots just to see if it turns their skin orange. It does, but based on the pictures of folks that have done it, if you are expecting to turn orange like a traffic cone you will be very disappointed. It's more of a kinda orange-ish kinda yellow-ish hue that makes you look a bit jaundiced, IMHO. I can't find it now (it may be long gone from the internet) but someone posted daily pictures for a month, and after 30 days their skin was noticeably a different color, though the results weren't what I would call dramatic.

If you are trying to get darker skin, I wouldn't consider the orange-ish skin produced from carrot overload to be a step in the right direction.

There are a lot of fake pics on the internet. I don't know the origins of this one, but it does look like a fairly accurate depiction of the skin color change you can expect.
https://slendergrapefruit.files.word...93929_7301.jpg
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 01-08-2016, 12:26 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 24,287
There is such a thing as tanning pills. They work mostly like eating a ton of carrots but they contain mixed carotenoids so the color may be a little better. I am not saying the results will be great and look all that natural but they are harmless as far as I know.

http://www.amazon.com/MyTan-Tanning-.../dp/B00JGORVV2

Spray tans (the kind you get in a spa booth) work fairly well too but you have to reapply them fairly frequently and they do have a distinctive smell for a while.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 01-08-2016, 04:24 PM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveOnAPlane View Post
I don't know what was used, but there was a long-ago nonfiction book called "Black Like Me" where a Caucasian guy took something that made his skin as dark as an African-American's and he wrote about his experiences. It was a very interesting read, but I don't remember what was used.

It must have been pretty effective, though, and maybe this will give you a starting place.

ETA: I found it on Wikipedia--
I read the beginning of that book- IIRC he was not satisfied with the results of medication and UV, so he stained his skin with walnut juice.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:42 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2015 Sun-Times Media, LLC.