Good news for the fair-skinned among us: Scientists in Massachusetts have developed a drug that darkens and protects human skin without the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) light. 

Dr. David Fisher, a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells the BBC the drug initiates a series of chemical reactions that enables skin to produce sun-blocking dark melanin without exposure to dangerous UV light—which initiates the same chemical reactions, but only after damaging the skin. 

"Under the microscope it's the real melanin,” Fisher says. “It really is activating the production of pigment in a UV-independent fashion." The drug could be a good thing even for people who don't crave a tan: Dark pigment provides a protective barrier against UV radiation, reducing the risk of skin cancer.

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