Now Experts Are Issuing Warnings About Sunburn Art
By Dennis Thompson
THURSDAY, July 16, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Sunburns are painful and potentially cancer-causing, but that hasn’t stopped them from becoming an increasingly popular means of artistic expression.
Experts are now speaking out against “sunburn art,” a new social media trend in which people use stencils or strategically applied sunblock to create a do-it-yourself temporary sunburn tattoo on their bodies.
Participants then take pictures of their creations and post them on sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
The trend is worrisome enough that the Skin Cancer Foundation has issued an official position on sunburn art, warning of the health risks associated with tanned or sunburned skin.
“Sunburns cause DNA damage to the skin, accelerate skin aging, and increase your lifetime skin cancer risk,” the statement reads. “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.”
Dr. Deborah Sarnoff, senior vice president of the Skin Cancer Foundation, said that people tend to underestimate the health hazards of sunburns.
The ultraviolet rays in sunshine or, for that matter, in the rays emitted by tanning beds, damage the DNA inside skin cells, making them more apt to turn cancerous, according to the American Cancer Society.
Further, the risk is cumulative, Sarnoff said. The more tans and sunburns a person receives throughout their lifetime, the more likely they are to develop skin cancer or melanoma at some point.