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White Student Turns Black

Hannah Tittensor, 22, has taken her addiction to tanning so far that she uses sunbeds three times a week for 15 minutes each time.

She became addicted after a holiday to Turkey four years ago when she got what she describes as an ‘amazing tan’.

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.

She admitted using Melanotan which is illegal but popular in Belfast (Picture: Barcroft)

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.

Hannah Tittensor has been accused of racism for her extreme tanning (Picture: Barcroft)

I just use the injections to top me up for that week, and then I stay really tanned all month. ‘I absolutely love the colour I go and much prefer this than spray or fake tan that’s smelly and makes you feel dirty. And it gets all over your clothes and bed.’

She says she is aware of the risks but has not been put off (Picture: Barcroft)
Her boyfriend also uses the injections and sunbeds, although not for as long as her (Picture: Barcroft)
The couple continue to use the illegal substance despite knowing the side-effects (Picture: Barcroft)

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 a natural pigment in the skin called melanin, which responds to sunlight and causes darker skin, hair and eyes. Increasing it in your body using tanning injections allows your skin to go darker under the ultraviolet (UV) light of the sun or a sunbed. The NHS warns people against using Melanotan, saying it is not legal because it has not been tested and approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Because it is injected and users might share needles, other concerns about Melanotan include the spread of HIV and other blood-borne diseases like hepatitis or infections from injecting non-sterilised water.

Hannah became addicted to tanning in 2015 after a holiday to Turkey in 2015 (Picture: Barcroft)
Hannah says she uses sunbeds three times a week for 15 minutes each time (Picture: Barcroft)
Hannah said that the abuse ramped up when she got her hair braided and she was accused of cultural appropriation (Picture: Barcroft)

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.

This is what Hannah and boyfriend Ben looked like before they became addicted to tanning injections (Picture: Barcroft)
The NHS warns people against using Melanotan (Picture: Barcroft)
The substance melanota is illegal because it has not been tested (Picture: Barcroft)

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.’

Melanotan is widely promoted on bodybuilding websites and forums, aimed at bodybuilders who want to enhance the effect of the way their muscles (Picture: Barcroft)

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.’






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Written by The Editor

warrior dedicated to the cause of fighting the takeover of our culture.

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