Yes. Here’s yet another trend that’s finding its momentum in a fancy hashtag. #SunburnArt is basically body art that’s created by using sunscreen, or lack thereof, to form patterns, stripes, and jeweled imagery by creating a contrast between the protected and burned skin.
“The sunburn art trend started as summer began, and the trend spread via social media, particularly over Instagram, where participants could put their sunburn art on display. Millenials are the main participants in this trend. They are a group that focuses on expressing their sense of individuality, and sunburn art is their attempt at being unique,” says Tiffany Lewis, a licensed aesthetician and owner of Tiffany Lewis Skincare in St Charles, Illinois. A few weeks back, Lewis started the #SayNoToSunburnArt hashtag to focus on what she calls ‘one of the most dangerous and foolish trends’. “There are far healthier ways to express your sense of individuality and style,” she says.
The sunburn art trend uses the body as a canvas. Sunscreen is applied to certain parts of the body in different shapes and patterns (tracings are bought online), and the remaining exposed skin is left to burn in the sun. The result is a kind of temporary tattoo.
Shelby Moneer, Director of Education at the Melanoma Research Foundation, Washington believes that this trend is not new. “I’ve seen people doing this for years and years. Tanning salons even offer stickers to their clients to use so they can see the color change in their skin. Social media simply makes it easier to perpetuate this senseless act,” she says.
The Most Dangerous Trend In Recent Times, #SayNoToSunburnArt
The downside of this trend is obvious.
- Any prolonged exposure to sun without protection is harmful and as doctors say, puts you at an increased risk for skin cancer. In fact, the sunburn art trend is so widespread that the Skin Cancer Foundation has already warned people of the dangers.
- “When your skin changes color as a result of UV exposure—natural or artificial—it means there has been damage to your skin at a cellular level. Cancer is formed when that damaged DNA replicates uncontrollably. We know that nearly 90 per cent of melanomas, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, are caused by UV exposure,” says Moneer.
- Since the intent of this sunburn trend is to purposely burn your skin for the sake of art, this technique is concerning dermatologists and specialists. “Our skin is an organ, though people may not think of it as such. It is part of our integumentary system and protects our inner organs. Sunburn and sun tanning compromises the health and strength of our skin, just as smoking harms our lungs. Suntans, sunburns and any unprotected exposure to UVA and UVB rays can cause permanent skin damage, along with an increased risk of developing carcinomas, melanomas, patches of unsightly hyper-pigmentation, and various skin growths, such as keratoses. Repeated sun exposure also speeds up the aging process, causing premature development of fine lines and wrinkles,” says Lewis.
- There’s also the danger that if skin is sunburned over and over again, it can lead to permanent scarring.
- A superficial yet relevant argument would be that the design may not necessarily come out the way you intended, can fade badly and look unattractive.
All experts have just one thing to say about the fad—don’t follow it! Lewis’ advice to people is to find a healthier way of expressing style and individuality. “One healthy alternative would be to try and spray tan art. It shares the same concept as sunburn art, but uses spray tans instead of subjecting you to harmful sun exposure. It allows you to express your uniqueness without compromising the health of your skin,” she says.
If there was a scientifically proven way to increase your chances of getting breast cancer, would you do it? Probably not. Why, then, would you expose your skin to UV light to intentionally tan or burn your skin? It’s basically the same thing, except in this case you’re at risk of skin cancer.
Image via #SunburnArt/Instagram
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