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United Kingdom

Student, 22, who is obsessed with sunbeds and tanning injections receives death threats

A tanning addict left viewers baffled when she discussed her habit on This Morning  today. 

Hannah Tittensor, 22, from Belfast, made headlines when it was revealed she became addicted to sunbeds and tanning injections in a bid to maintain a dark bronze skin tone. 

She appeared on This Morning today alongside her boyfriend Ben Dunlop, 23, who also uses tanning products. 

While she insisted she would soon give up the dramatic self-tanning after being made aware of the health risks, Hannah was still criticised by viewers who asked: 'Is she OK?' 

Hannah Tittensor, 22, from Belfast, and boyfriend Ben Dunlop, 23, are obsessed with tanning injections to help them maintain dark, sun-kissed skin for weeks on end

Hannah pictured (left) before she started tanning regularly, said she's received abuse online for her very tanned look - with some people even telling her to 'kill herself'

One posted: 'No tan is worth that much sacrifice to your health. I don't understand why more people can't just embrace their natural skin colours.'

Another said it was their parents' fault for not educating her as to the health risks of her habit. 

Beauty therapy student Hannah uses under-the-counter tanning injections, Melanotan, which helps users go darker under sunlight or sunbeds. 

She said: 'I started trying them and it worked straight away. We will do sunbeds for two-three times a week for 15 minutes.

'Online I get a lot of hate for it. Really shallow things like I would be better off killing myself over a tan. It’s really horrible.' 

Speaking to presenters  Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, Hannah revealed she was skeptical about taking the injecting in the first instance because she didn't like the idea of injecting herself with a substance, and did not react to them well. 

'I was skeptical about injecting something,' she said. 'It made me feel quite sick like a cold sensation in my stomach. It was for a few days and then it wet away.'

Hannah's boyfriend Benalso had a terrible reaction to injections he purchased online, which left him hospitalised. 

'It gave me an abscess in my stomach,' he explained on the show. 'They found out it was a bacterial infection. But it was something in the product I bought and not the needle. It did put me off, but not totally. Now I don’t buy them online.'

The couple insisted they would be willing to stop taking the tan injections in the future, especially after Phillip Schofield read out a statement from the NHS about the dangers of the product

Hannah Tittensor (above) admitted she is obsessed with tanning and uses sunbeds three times a week for around 15 minutes at a time

Phillip read out a statement from a NHS spokesperson which said: 'Anyone using Melanotan should immediately stop using for your own safety. It has not been safety tested by the UK Medicine Safety Agency. Users should stop using immediately.'

After the warning, Hannah insisted she could give up her tanning obsession, especially because she is also worried about cancer. 

'I wasn’t aware,' she said. 'I would be able to stop and go back to tan. I do worry 100 per cent every day. '

Ben added: 'I go through phases of being obsessed with it, so maybe I might stop. We do worry about cancer. My mum is totally against it.' 

The youngster also admitted she has received a lot of 'hate' from social media users - and it's not the first time Hannah has been subject to spiteful negative comments.

The beauty therapy student, pictured right with a friend, said she uses tanning injections of a substance called Melanotan to make her go darker quicker on the sunbed

Hannah, pictured (left) with a pal, explained she uses Melanotan for about one week each month and injects the substance before she gets on the sunbed

After uploading the snap of herself on the 2015 holiday in Turkey - when she revealed her new ultra-dark skin for the first time - the torrent of negative messages ensued.

Speaking just last week, she said: 'I had an amazing tan but I felt like dying. People told me I looked like an alien and that I looked ugly.'     

In January 2017, when Hannah combined her new skin colour with box braids - a type of hair braiding more commonly worn by African and African-American people - she received a fresh waves of attacks and was accused of racial appropriation.  

'Some people have accused me of trying to look like a black woman,' she said. '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 its tanning.

'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', she added. 

Hannah, right with a friend, said that the Melanotan injections can make users feel a little bit sick and lose their appetite but added that they do not hurt

Boyfriend Ben Dunlop, 23, pictured with Hannah, revealed that he also uses the injections and sunbeds each week

Hannah revealed that people called her 'ugly' after revealing her look and compared her to an 'alien' when she first started tanning after her holiday in 2015

Ben, pictured with Hannah at the tanning salon, said he started trying to get bronzed when he became interested in bodybuilding

Hannah first found out about tanning injections when her brother Jack tried them in 2015.

Dangers of Melanotan 

- The UK National Health Service (NHS) warns people on its website against using Melanotan

- They claim 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

'He came in one day and was suddenly really tanned,' she previously explained.

'We asked how he did it and he said it was Melanotan.'

Trainee barber Ben has been using sunbeds since he was 15 and has now been taking tanning injections for three to four years.

He keeps fit with bodybuilding and regularly goes with Hannah to the gym, where the couple like to keep in shape.

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.

'Bodybuilding has gotten really popular in Belfast, and so have the tanning injections with it,' said Ben.

Ben, pictured with Hannah, revealed that he worries about his girlfriend sometimes as she goes on the sunbed for longer than him usually and 'cancer runs in her family'

Despite getting abuse online, Hannah, pictured, said: 'I'm not racist. I'm just a white girl who likes to be overly-tanned'

Hannah, above, said she likes being tanned so she doesn't have to wear as much makeup

'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.'

He continued: 'I worry about Hannah sometimes because cancer runs in her family, and she goes into the sun bed for longer than me usually. I normally do 10 minutes while she does longer.' 

Users of Melanotan are able to buy it through Facebook groups and some beauty salons and gyms.

The vial is mixed with water and injected under the skin. Hannah and Ben take around 1iu dosage each time they use it. 

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.

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