Forskolin for Sunless Skin Tanning (Self-Experiment)

A common dietary supplement called Forskolin can be applied directly to the skin to induce a natural, ‘sunless’ tan. (See the link below to the original research.)

I’m testing it out on myself. For science. I live in Arizona and have pale skin. I have to wear layers of sunscreen daily (year round) to keep the harsh sun from prevent prematurely aging me. It’s tedious and impossible upkeep. Remember, self-tanners do not protect you from skin cancer or premature aging, making them poor option (unless you are aiming for a Trump or bodybuilder look.)

Initially, my first thought was to research semi-permanent sunscreen. Spray tans exist for streak-free, month-long wear, so why not a sunscreen? Alas, such a product does not exist. Getting a natural, sun damage-free tan would be an ideal solution for any individual in my predicament.

Here are my methods. I will update with progress photos in a couple of weeks.

Coleus forskohlii (root) extract 250mg gelatin capsules. (Standardized to 20% Forskolin. Rice Flour is the filler.)

  1. Empty the Forskolin capsules of their contents and collect into a bowl.
  2. Mix this power with enough water to make a thick paste.
  3. Spread this paste on skin and allow to dry.
  4. Wait 1 hour before rinsing off. (Alternatively, go to sleep with a towel on your pillow.)
This is the Forskolin that I’m using. (You can find more pure/expensive formulas… but I’m using a cheaper one for initial testing purposes.)

Stay tuned for updates and progress pictures.

Spry, M.L., et al., Prolonged treatment of fair-skinned mice with topical forskolin causes persistent tanning and UV protection. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res, 2009. 22(2): p. 219-29.


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