‘Sunburn Art’ The new Social Media Trend Can Be Dangerous

Sunburns are not just painful but have the potential of causing cancer. But, these twin threats have not stopped them from being a way to present artistic expression and the social media is helping this trend in gaining more popularity. Presently, experts are voicing concerns about “sunburn art” where people use sunblocks that are strategically applied or stencil for a DIY temporary sunburn tattoo on the body. After completing the ‘art work’, participants invariably take pictures and use Facebook and Twitter to show off their accomplishment.


This is a worrisome trend that the Skin Cancer Foundation has taken an official position on ‘sunburn art’ issuing a warning on the health risks that are associated with sunburned or tanned skin.

A statement from the foundation says that DNA damages can happen to the skin from Sunburns, apart from accelerating the ageing of the skin and increasing lifetime risk of skin cancer.  The statement goes on to say that just about 5 or more sunburns during the younger years enhances lifetime risk of melanoma by as much as 80%.

Senior Vice President of the Skin Cancer Foundation, Dr. Deborah Sarnoff says that people often underestimate health hazards caused by sunburns.

The UV rays in the sunshine or rays from tanning beds cause damage to DNA inside the skin cells, and that in turn makes them more prone to become cancerous – says the American Cancer Society.  Sarnoff adds that there is also a cumulative risk when a person gets more sunburns and tans across the life time, the risk of developing melanoma or skin cancer is also more. Often times, people tend to think that ‘sunburn art’ is a new form of art and represents creativity.  But, the fact however, is that sunburns are indeed terribly dangerous and most average people fail to understand this. Sarnoff went on to add that in fact there is nothing like a healthy tan and tanned skin always means damaged skin.

Nearly 10,000 Americans lose their lives to melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer.  The U.S. National Cancer Institute estimates that some 74,000 new cases of melanoma will be reported during the current year alone and an additional 1 million in the U.S. alone are living with melanoma.

The deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, Dr. Len Lichtenfeld says that the growing trend in ‘sunburn art’ will be particularly troublesome when it climbs to a spot where people vie with each other to demonstrate their expertise. He added further that this trend becomes a competition; it tends to reduce awareness of the attendant risks. While the burn might go away, the damage does not and it will continue to accumulate over a period of time.


[“source – thetimesgazette.com”]