MOST people love having a tan and Danielle Trevarthen is no different.
In a bid to get a sun-kissed glow, the 26-year-old decided to give tanning injections a try.
But days after using the jabs, Danielle, who lives in Cornwall, was left with a gaping hole in her bottom.
The ambulance dispatch worker is now telling her story to raise awareness of the dangers of the injections after she contracted a flesh eating bug.
Danielle first used the tanning products five years ago after being gifted the needles from an acquaintance.
Tanning injections darken skin by replicating a hormone which stimulates production of melanin in the skin. They are illegal in the UK.
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She got her then boyfriend to inject her with the tanning aid, but just a week later, a five inch abscess appeared on her bum.
Her breathing had also become irregular and after visiting the doctors, she was prescribed antibiotics and painkillers.
Danielle had to visit medics every day for a week to get her medication.
But the abscess persisted and it was then that she suffered the first of five seizures in her local GP practice, which saw her rushed to hospital.
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She spent the next three weeks in hospital on a ventilator and ended up losing a stone in weight from the ordeal.
Danielle has also been left with a scar on her bum cheek.
She said: "I can't stress enough how dangerous buying things online are, especially when they don't come with instructions.
"I was so scared and petrified at the time. I'm just glad I'm healed and better now.
"I remember I felt sick almost immediately after using it but I thought it was probably normal.
"A few days went by and I couldn’t sit on my left buttock. It was painful, red and just looked angry," she told NeedToKnow.
Danielle said she kept and eye on the wound and nothing was killing it.
What are tanning injections?
Some people use melanotan injections to change the colour of their skin, but they are illegal in the UK.
The synthetic hormone works by stimulating pigment cells in the skin, causing them to produce more of the melanin that gives skin its darker colour.
The NHS warns against use of the injections as it has “not undergone the stringent safety and effectiveness testing that all medicines have to undergo before they can be licensed for use.”
There are two forms available, Melanotan I and II, which are diluted in water before being injected.
Are they safe?
The injections have not been tested for human use and there are possible side effects and dangers that could occur.
Some side-effects can include acne, stomach pains, eye disorders, sickness and even heart problems.
Sharing needles can lead to blood-borne diseases like hepatitis or HIV being spread, and skin and tissue damage can also occur if substances are injected by an untrained individual.
Dr Carol Cooper said: “It is incredible that people are willing to risk their lives for a tan by injecting an illegal drug.
“Side-effects of Melanotan 2 include nausea and vomiting. Users face high blood pressure, heart issues and blood disorders.
“The jab makes moles darker, which could lead to skin cancer.
“Anyone who uses a sunbed is around 20 per cent more likely to develop malignant melanoma. Those who use sunbeds before 35 are 87 per cent more at risk.”
"The infection was living off of my skin and getting bigger and deeper.
“It was a week after going to the doctors that I had the first seizure.
"I went in as usual feeling sick with a high temperature, and as I left I went to the toilet to be sick but I collapsed and had a seizure on the doctors floor.
"I had another three seizures before the ambulance arrived. I was petrified."
After being rushed to hospital, she had tubes placed down her throat and this she said, made it hard for her to breathe.
I just cannot stress enough how dangerous they are and for others to avoid them
"My body took an absolute battering from it all," Danielle added.
After three weeks in hospital, Danielle discharged herself and rested up at home.
She has since made a full recovery – with the scar serving as a reminder of the close call.
Danielle added: "I still have a long scar left on my bum and this is five years on.
"My family was annoyed I did it, but I'm just glad I'm OK now.
"I still have flashbacks about how one tanning injection can cause so many issues.
"Now if I want a tan, it's a fake tan lotion or a tonne of sun lotion for a natural tan.
"I just cannot stress enough how dangerous they are and for others to avoid them."
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