Social media influencers often promote brands and products that they have never even tried, and many people purchase these unregulated products as a result.
Source: BBC News/Youtube
A BBC News investigation found that many influencers are promoting tanning products to millions of people that are banned. In the UK, it is illegal to sell nasal sprays or injectable products that are made with the artificial hormone “Melanotan-2,” which is used to accelerate tanning.
This drug is unlicensed dangerous, and officials are warning to stop using these products immediately. The drug has been linked to cancer, and these influencers need to take accountability for the millions of people they have leverage over and consider the health and wellbeing of their followers instead of the check they may be receiving from promoting the product.
People all over are already being affected by these unregulated drugs that they saw their influencers use. Liv and Elaina are two women who fell victim to wanting to appear like the unrealistic influencers they see on social media.
Liv ordered a tanning injection from a UK website and injected her stomach with the drug for two months. She would immediately go on a sunbed after injection, which supposedly “activates” the product. She brushed aside the headaches she was experiencing because she felt that she could see progress. Eight months in, she found an odd pea-sized mole on her thigh. She went to the doctor to have it removed and was diagnosed with stage-one melanoma, a skin cancer. She told BBC how terrifying it is to have a cancer diagnosis at only 27 years old from a product she thought was safe and worked because of what she saw on social media.
On the other hand, Elaina bought a nasal spray from social media. Immediately after using her face turned bright red and burned, she figured that her body just needed to adjust and it would go away. After a week of using, she told BBC that her throat started to close up and was unable to breathe. She went to the doctor, who told her the tanning product was to blame for the serious issues she was experiencing.
Along with these two women, BBC spoke to 20 people who experienced complications and issues from these products, ranging from lesions to abscesses and fungal infections. Many people are purchasing these drugs because they think the influencer they look up to uses them or that they work. Social media portrays an unhealthy expectation of what people, especially women, should look like, and the consequences are detrimental.
The British Association of Dermatologists is actively warning about these products and telling people not to use them under any circumstances. While it is not illegal to promote tanning products, influences need to take accountability for their actions and how they are affecting real-life people. Sign this petition to end false influencer advertising!
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