‘Sun art’ dangerous trend, say dermatologists
A new body art fad has doctors sounding the alarm.
Beachgoers are foregoing sunscreen and replacing it with a new, questionable beauty trend that has people getting sunburned in the name of art.
Called "sunburn art," people apply sunblock to particular areas of their bodies to create a picture or pattern on their skin.
The trend is so popular that there are dozens and dozens of websites and social media sites devoted to the topic, giving people a platform to share pictures of their sunburn art.
Dermatologists are concerned over the popular trend.
Dr. David Goldberg, director of Skin Laser and Surgery Specialists of New York and New Jersey, said he has seen the number of patients come into his office with severe sunburn increase over the past few months.
"In order for sunburn art to look effective, you have to get sunburn in a particular area. You can't control your sunburn. Some people, instead of getting the sunburn they want, wind up with blistering pain, discomfort and even secondary infection," Goldberg said.
There are also long-term implications of burning skin for the sake of art.
"If this art craze continues and people continue to sunburn areas of their body, there is no question they will have a higher instance of skin cancers, including malignant melanoma in those areas and that is a cancer that is deadly," Goldberg said.
According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 65,647 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin in 2011, including 38,415 men and 27,232 women, and 9,128 people died.
For those who want to have art on their body, Goldberg recommended non-permanent tattoos.
"Any degree of sun damage has long-term implications. The reality is there are all kinds of artificial, non-permanent tattoos that can be put on the skin, like henna tattoos or even the kind that children like to use, that don't damage the skin. Why do art in a way that is permanently damaging to the skin and that you will pay for in the long-run both physically and monetarily?" Goldberg said.
It is also very dangerous to be out in the sun for any extended period of time without using the proper sunscreen.
Goldberg recommended people use a sunscreen with at least SPF 15. Those with a history of skin cancer should never go outside without SPF 30, which should be reapplied every couple of hours.
For more tips on how to prevent sunburn, click here.