Recently, a few photos tagged as #sunburnart have been circulating on social media. These images show people who have intentionally burned there skin to create “art” by strategically placing a pattern where the skin is protected. Whether sun burn art is popular enough to be called a “trend” or not, it is concerning enough that the Skin Cancer Foundation put out this official statement:
The Skin Cancer Foundation strongly advises the public to avoid sunburns at all costs. A sunburn is not only painful – it’s dangerous, and comes with consequences. Sunburns cause DNA damage to the skin, accelerate skin aging, and increase your lifetime skin cancer risk. In fact, sustaining five or more sunburns in youth increases lifetime melanoma risk by 80 percent.On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends adopting a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade, covering up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use.
As Dermatologists and Skin Cancer Prevention Advocates, we at the Asarch Center absolutely advise against participating in the sun burn art trend and want to stress that sunburns are dangerous and can have life long consequences. Protecting your skin with a broadband sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and sun protective clothing should be a priority each and every time you are out in the sun.
Just because something is popular, certainly doesn’t make it correct. Here are some other misguided sun exposure statements:
- Getting a “base tan” protects your skin from burns and sun damage. FALSE
There is no such thing as a safe or protective tan; any tan at all is a sign of skin damage. Skin tans in response to UV damage to the skin’s DNA; a tan is the skin’s attempt to repair sun damage and prevent further injury. But these imperfect repairs can cause gene defects that can lead to skin cancer.
- Sun tans clear up acne. FALSE
The sun can dry out your skin, but sun exposure can make acne flare-ups even worse. Skin can become inflamed, both directly causing acne and increasing the production of acne-causing oils. Additionally, sun exposure can result in post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)- which can darken acne marks and scars.
- You cannot get sun damage on a cloudy day. FALSE
Just because you can’t see your shadow doesn’t mean you’re safe from the sun’s damaging rays. Believe it or not, up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through clouds and fog.
Want to learn more about staying safe in the sun? Follow this link!