A TANNING studio has been slammed for ‘preying on people’s insecurities’ by selling an unlicensed and potentially dangerous drug.

SunKissed Tanning Studio, in Witney, announced on Facebook this month that it was selling Melanotan 2, despite the package saying the product was ‘not for human use’.

The Facebook post, which was taken down yesterday, offered five 10mg vials of the drug for £20 as part of the studio’s ‘autumn sale’.

Melanotan, which is injected, is illegal to sell in the UK because it has not been fully tested for safety, quality or effectiveness.

This means the severity of side effects are unclear, although claims of people dying as a result of using the drug are unconfirmed.

Several UK suppliers sell Melanotan 2 online as the product is not actually illegal for consumers to buy, but the British Association of Dermatologists’ Matt Gass said businesses such as SunKissed should be more responsible.

He said: “Using injectable tan accelerators such as melanotan can be dangerous, and the health problems that people have suffered as a result of using them are well documented, providing further evidence of why people should stay away from unlicensed products.

“The very fact that Melanotan is not licensed for sale in the UK should serve as the strongest warning against injecting a substance into your body for which we don’t yet have the full safety data.

“Those that sell it illegally are preying on peoples’ insecurities in a highly irresponsible manner and should be reported immediately.”

Melanotan is a synthetic hormone that works by increasing the levels of melanin, a natural dark pigment in the skin.

SunKissed’s Facebook post said the product could also help with fat loss, adding: “It acts on your body so as to reduce appetite and thermogenic action as well.”

The owner of another Witney salon, who wished to remain anonymous, criticised SunKissed but revealed Melanotan was widely used.

They said: “People have been using it for years because they believe it makes them lose weight and helps them go darker.

“The fact that this company advertised it is extremely concerning - it shouldn’t be on Witney High Street.”

The studio was reported to Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards team, who have forwarded the issue to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

SunKissed was approached for comment.