This summer’s latest skin trend is hot — and not in a good way.
No one enjoys a sunburn. They sting, make you look slightly tomato-ish, and can have dangerous consequences. However, lately, people have been getting them on purpose. Why, you ask? For the Instagram aesthetic, of course.
Teens and young adults have recently been sticking sun-blocking stencils on their bodies, burning in the sun for a few hours, and then peeling the stencils off to reveal a white design where their skin hasn’t burned. The look people have been aiming for is something like this:
But all I think about is a Tweet that circulated the internet a few summers ago when someone ate cereal in the sun and accidentally fell asleep:
In theory, these are not much different from intentionally acquiring “stylish” tan lines — although those used to be the bane of every tanner’s existence when I was growing up. I remember a turning point when suddenly everyone wanted those iconic white criss-crossed stripes on their feet indicative of the expensive sandals they wore all summer.
But whether burning or tanning, neither is good for your skin. In an interview with dermatologist Shari Marchbein, beauty website Allure highlights that “both tans and sunburns are the visible signs of DNA damage from UV exposure.” A red hot sunburn indicates that the outer layer of skin cells is inflamed and dying due to overexposure to harmful shorter UVB rays in sunlight.
Prolonged exposure to the longer UVA rays (which are also used in tanning beds) can cause the skin cells to produce extra melanin that darkens the skin’s appearance in an attempt to lessen the sun’s damage. So, whether it’s trendy to be tan or burnt, UV rays damage the skin and put one at an increased risk of developing deadly skin cancers, including melanoma.
So please, kids, don’t purposefully stay out in the sun for long periods of time — or at least wear lots of sunscreen. Your future self will be thanking you.
Are you a fan of sunburn/tan tattoos, or is this trend dangerous and unap-peeling? Let us know in the comments!