A sunburn tattoo trend is taking over the internet this summer and has forced one dermatologist to issue a severe warning about the dangers it could have on a person’s skin — including doubling the risk of skin cancer.
The trend involves someone purposely not applying sunscreen to an area of the skin in order to form a sunburn showing off an image or design.
People who have taken part in the worrying trend are now sharing images of their ‘tattoos’ on social media — with people sharing designs like the batman symbol, stars and sandal lines that formed after sitting out in the sun.
Dangerous: People are participating in the ‘sunburn tattoo’ trend in the summer months
On the rise: This trend involves avoiding sunscreen around a specific area to purposely form sunburn lines into a specific shape
Trending? These ‘tattoos’ have popped up on social media — with people showing off designs like the batman, stars and sandal lines formed after sitting out in the sun
Dr. Whitney Bowe, a New York-based dermatologist, told DailyMail.com the trend is creating ‘damage that is going to be with you for the rest of your life’.
‘There is no safe way to get a sunburn tattoo,’ she said. ‘That is major misconception. There is no such thing as a safe tan.’
Warning: New York-based dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe (pictured) advised against the trend
She advocated against any sunburn or tan lines forming from sitting out in the sun because of the damage ultraviolet rays create when penetrating the skin layers.
The sunlight rays that damage the skin come in two forms: Ultraviolet A and Ultraviolet B.
‘The UVB rays are primary responsible for burning,’ Dr. Bowe explained. ‘So the UVB rays penetrate into the top layer of the skin, the epidermis, and those are the ones responsible for the sunburn.’
She continued: ‘UVA rays dive deeper into the dermis. Those are the ones that cumulative exposure lead to wrinkles and loss of elasticity the skin.’
Allowing exposure of these rays to either form tan lines or ‘sunburn tattoos’ will promote lasting damage on the skin layers and could even lead to skin cancer, Dr. Bowe said.
In her office, she has seen younger patients and parents inquiring about suntan lines or sunburn tattoos to see if there is a safe way to achieve the lines when outdoors.
‘There is no such thing as a safe tan or safe burn,’ Dr. Bowe said. ‘Even one bad sunburn can double your risk of melanoma later in life.’
Lasting damage: ‘There is no such thing as a safe tan or safe burn,’ Dr. Bowe said. ”Even one bad sunburn can double your risk of melanoma later in life’
To be avoided: She warned people against attempting to achieve tan or burn lines outdoors because it could damage the skin layer and potentially cause skin cancer
Damaging: ‘Anytime you see the skin turn red or brown, it’s actually a sign there has been DNA damage,’ Dr. Bowe explained
She continued: ‘A lot of these sunburn tattoos are being done by kids. When you have young skin like that, it is especially vulnerable to ultraviolet rays. You are more likely to see signs of aging.’
Although there are options down the road for people to reverse the sun damage on their skin, it will come with a hefty price tag.
‘They are going to save a lot of money in my office down the road,’ Dr. Bowe said when advocating against the trend, adding: ‘It is very expensive to undo the damage. If you’re a skin cancer survivor, it can be life changing. It is extremely traumatic.’
Staying protect: Dr. Bowe, pictured with her seven-year-old daughter, advocated for wearing sun protective fabrics and using self tanners to achieve a tan instead of sitting out in the sun
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and forms from DNA damage to the skin cells, which is caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
‘Anytime you see the skin turn red or brown, it’s actually a sign there has been DNA damage,’ Dr. Bowe explained.
In 2019, an estimated 96,480 cases of melanoma are expected in the United States and will be a more than five per cent increase from 2018, according to the Melanoma Research Alliance.
Dr. Bowe noted people appear to be more focused on preventing skin damage to avoid any skin cancers in this day and age, with a rise in interest for sun protective fabrics and better self tanners on the market.
But despite a peak in protecting the skin, there is also a rise of trends like the sunburn tattoo further harming the barrier.
‘I can’t think of another word but ironic,’ she said about the people participating in the dangerous trend. ‘It just screams ignorance. They really don’t fear skin cancer.’
She recommended for everyone, specifically young children and teenagers, to avoid any skin trends that involve forming tan or sunburn lines on the skin from ultraviolet rays.
Stock up on SPF for every part of the body, from your lips to your hair
By Charlie Lankston for DailyMail.com
Top it up: If you’re wearing makeup throughout the day, or if you just don’t want to worry about topping up your facial SPF with a liquid product during the day, try a powder SPF that you can brush on quickly and easily, such as the Brush On Block Translucent Mineral Powder Sunscreen (left, $32) or the Tarte Tarteguard Mineral Powder Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (right, $28)
Au naturel: If you are being extra vigilant about what ingredients and formulas you are putting on your body this summer, think about considering a mineral sunscreen, which essentially means it uses natural minerals as its active ingredients, rather than chemicals, like the Bare Republic Mineral SPF30 Whipped Mousse Sunscreen (left, $16.99) and the Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen SPF30 Natural Continuous Sunscreen Spray (right, $12.47)
Don’t forget your lids: The eyelids are often one of the most forgotten places on the body when it comes to SPF. Thankfully, Supergoop has a solution in the form of its Shimmershade Set ($96), which are cream eyeshadows that offer SPF30 protection
A little bit of everything: If you’re not sure what you might need this summer, try the Sephora Favorites Sun Safety Kit ($39), which contain travel-sized versions of some of the stores best-selling SPF products
Bare necessities: A traditional cream sunscreen, and an oil that won’t cause harm to the skin are two essentials that most sun lovers can’t spend a hot day without. So make sure you stock up on the best offerings out there, like the CeraVe Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 for Body with Zinc Oxide (left, $17.99) and the Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Sol Oil SPF30 (right, $38)
R&R: Even if you protect your face with SPF, chances are it’s going to need a bit more TLC after spending long periods of time in the sun. So why not indulge with a mini at-home facial that can be made incredibly easy, and luxurious, with the help of the 111SKIN Summer Glow & Protect Set ($95) from SpaceNK
Cool down: Much like your face, your body may need some soothing after a day in the beaming bright sunshine, and it helps to have some cooling, calming products on-hand at home, just in case, like the C.O. Bigelow Mentha Vitamin Body Lotion (left, $14), Sun Bum After Sun Cool Down Lotion (center, $11.99), and the Bath and Body Works Cactus Blossom Aloe Lotion (right, $16.50)