Essex lad warns against tanning injections after turning into 'Madge from Benidorm' on holiday
An Essex lad is warning against 'dangerous' tanning injections after turning so dark he 'looked like Madge from Benidorm' - and now he's left with the freckled skin of a 60-year-old.
Dylan Wright was desperate to take full advantage of the scorching sun during his mini-break to Sitges, Spain, so he tried to get ahead of the game.
The 28-year-old bought £10 tanning jabs online to speed up his bronzing and injected two before he left for the airport, but he says by the end of his six-day trip his new look garnered stares from fellow holidaymakers.
A startling image Dylan posted to TikTok last month shows him with bafflingly dark arms and face as he smiles drink-in-hand with best pal Jake Bolton, 29.
Other snaps show Dylan posed on his balcony and sat with a cocktail, sporting dramatically contrasting bleach blonde hair and a white shirt he says made him look like 'a pint of Guinness'.
The tanning blunder left him with dry skin and permanent new freckles that sparked a cancer scare, so he is now sharing the images from his July 2014 holiday as a warning to others who may consider the controversial injections.
Tanning jabs contain the lab-made hormone called melanotan II, which increases the melanin production in the skin and can cause an increase in moles and freckles.
The customer service worker admits he spent nine hours per day in the sun and should have only injected one rather than two jabs, but says he was young and 'felt invincible' at the time.
After highlighting his fail in a light-hearted TikTok video, some users commented showing interest in the injections, and he's since warned them against it to avoid having aged skin through sun damage like him.
Dylan, from Colchester, Essex, said: "The doctors called me an idiot and told me it's a side effect from the drug, but now I'm stuck with them. I've got loads of freckles all over my arms and my face.
"I've got freckles like I'm in my 50s or 60s. It feels like my skin's aged. I've still got the marks to show for it and it can have long-lasting effects.
"I remember saying to Jake on the third or fourth day [of the holiday], 'I'm going really, really dark', then I started getting lots of freckles on my arms and face that I'd never had before.
"I didn't think too much of it. I hadn't forgotten about the injections but I thought they probably wouldn't work because I got them online.
"It got to last night and I remember getting ready and walking down the street. People were really staring, so I asked what was wrong and Jake told me, 'Dylan, you are black'.
"Because I have white features, I guess, it looked really odd. I looked like a pint of Guinness because I had this white top and white hair and I think that makes it funnier.
"After I saw the photo I thought 'oh my god, this is not cool'. I was more concerned about looking like Madge from Benidorm. I felt it really aged me and I didn't look great.
"Because the injections make tanning more efficient, being in the sun for nine hours a day is like being in the sun for a week every day and that was the problem.
"I think you're only supposed to inject one of them, but I was scared of taking syringes through security, so I wanted to take two so they'd last the holiday.
"I bought them before to make the most of the sun. I went on the sunbeds a bit before the holiday but didn't take the injections until just before I left. I was too scared to take them away.
"No matter how hungover we were, we were out at the beach by 9am until 6pm. We didn't want to miss any sun while we were there because we weren't there for very long.
"I looked like I had a skin condition or something. I was single so luckily it didn't impact the way men were with me because I had a good holiday in that sense, so that wasn't an issue.
"Looking back I laugh and my friends always ask me to show new friends because they always can't believe it."
Dylan doesn't remember the name of the website he ordered the injections from and cringes at the fact he bought and used them solely because of a friend's recommendation.
After jetting back to the UK his parents couldn't understand why he was so dark-skinned because he refused to tell them what he'd done, fearing their reaction.
He's since told them and has now posted to share his embarrassment through a light-hearted TikTok, raking in more than 50,000 views.
However, he does feel there's an important message to be learned and is encouraging any tan-hunting holidaymaker to avoid the injections he took to dodge the long-term marks he's been left with.
Dylan said: "I definitely learned my lesson, but in the comments to the video people are asking where do you get these and how can I do them.
"Anyone thinking of buying them, you should do your research because there's loads of articles on how dangerous they are.
"It's really not worth it. There's safer ways to tan, like fake tanning.
"I've not been on a sunbed since. It gave me a wake-up call. As you get older I've changed my habits. It's a classic case of being 20 and thinking you're invincible."
Dylan's TikTok video now has more than 300 comments with some of them keen to try out the jabs and others joking about how dark Dylan's skin looked.
One user said: "I need this."
Another said: "Okay but why do I want [the injections]."
A third said: "We need these for summer."
However, a user called Christopher said: "This is horrific."
Lauren Pedler joked: "This is the best thing I've seen all day."
Another user known as Mitch said: "So good it altered your genetics."