Hannah Tittensor, 22, has taken her addiction to
She became addicted after a holiday to Turkey four years ago when she got what she describes as an ‘amazing
Since then she has been using illegal tanning injections that use Melanotan which increases the levels of melanin making you go darker under sunlight or on sunbeds.
Her boyfriend Ben Dunlop, 23, also uses the injections despite the side effects of making users feel sick.
Beauty therapy student Hannah, from Belfast, said: ‘Everyone is doing it. It’s become a trend in the city. Ben and I do the injections for about one week each month, where you have an injection before you go on the sunbed each time.
I just use the injections to top me up for that week, and then I stay really tanned all month. ‘I absolutely love the
Hannah started getting hate messages on social media following the 2015 holiday to Turkey when she revealed her ultra-dark skin for the first time.
She said: ‘People told me I looked like an alien, that I looked ugly,’ she said.
‘Some people accused me of trying to look like a black woman. I’m not trying to do that at all, I just like the way my skin looks healthy and glowing with a tan.
Some girls can’t live without getting their nails or hair done and for me it’s tanning.
‘I’m always playing around with my look. I’ve been a skater girl, sometimes had more of a surfer hippy look, and now I like to look like this.’
The dangers of Melanotan The substance is created in a lab and increases the levels of
In January 2017 Hannah had her hair braided, opening her up to more abuse. she said: ‘People were commenting on my photos accusing me of cultural appropriation and even saying that I was racist, just because of how I looked.
‘I’m not racist at all. I’m just a white girl who likes to be overly-tanned.
‘It seems like I am the worst person in the world just for tanning sometimes. It seems to offend people sometimes and I’m not trying to. It seems pretty harmless to me.
‘Every girl I see on Instagram is tanned. I know I’m at the extreme end but I like the way I look. I feel like me.’
Melanotan is widely promoted on bodybuilding websites and forums, aimed at bodybuilders who want to enhance the effect of the way their muscles look with deeper tans.
Trainee barber Ben, who has been using sunbeds since he was 15, said: ‘Bodybuilding has gotten really popular in Belfast, and so have the tanning injections with it.
‘I don’t compete in bodybuilding or go on stage, I just like to work out and feel healthy. Tanning is a big part of bodybuilding. A lot of bodybuilders take tanning injections.
‘My mum thinks I look like an idiot but I don’t care, I like it. I worry about Hannah sometimes because cancer runs her family, and she goes into the sunbed for longer than me usually. I normally do 10 minutes while she does longer.
‘I don’t have a history of cancer in my family so I don’t really worry about myself. I don’t know much about the side effects of the injections.’
Despite the other health risks of too much sunlight or sunbeds, Hannah is not ready to quit tanning.
‘One of the main reasons I do it is I don’t need to wear much makeup,’ she said.
Tanned skin looks better and it saves me lots of time going out or to work. ‘I’m not going to go any darker at the moment but I probably will in the summer, and that will spark off all the abuse again. ‘But it’s okay, we’re kind of used to it now.’