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Since the popularisation of the tanned aesthetic in the 1970s, the issue of sun exposure has remained relevant to both medical practitioners and scholars of popular culture. This is especially the case in Australia, often referred to as the 'skin cancer capital of the world'.


Given Australia's history of public health campaigns promoting sun safety, recent innovations in 'tan technology' have attracted interest as well as scrutiny from the medical fraternity. The development of the alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (a-MSH) analogue Melanotan (MTI & II) - a synthetic peptide that stimulates the body's production of melanin (the pigment that gives skin a tanned appearance) - has been met with particular curiosity.


While the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is yet to approve Melanotan for commercial use in Australia, there is compelling evidence that its use is increasing among the general population (via legal but unconventional channels). Yet, very little is understood of individual experiences of using Melanotan. Scholarly publications examining individual experiences of Melanotan use are also extremely scarce.


Project Melanotan aims to bring sociological understanding to scholarly discussions about tanning and sun exposure.

By engaging directly with melanotanners in a non-judgemental environment, more can be understood about the various rationales for trying Melanotan, the significance of the tanned aesthetic in contemporary Australia, and user outcomes for self-administered substances.


Researchers are currently seeking adult Australian residents who have previously or are currently using Melanotan to participate in a skype or face-to-face interview, OR face-to-face focus group discussion from September 2015 to June 2016.


Participants are reimbursed for their time in the form of a AU$50 digital gift voucher. Confidentiality is assured.

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