Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication
Now a new and dumb social media trend is emerging that’s baffling dermatologists, cancer experts and other clinicians. It’s called “sunburn art”— designs created on the skin by applying sunscreen or another sun barrier in a chosen pattern while basking in the sun and leaving the rest of the skin unprotected. It is an intentional sunburn in the shape of an image, design or pattern.
Search Google (1) for 'sunburnart' and you will see several of these alarming images. A quick glance at Google Images shows just how elaborate people are getting with it – creating sunburn art that depicts everything from flowers and hearts to the Batman symbol and the Mona Lisa.
The trend has reportedly picked up steam this summer on social media, with Twitter and Instagram users posting pictures with the hashtag #SunburnArt.
For years, health officials have warned that UV radiation, whether from natural or artificial sources, can be damaging to the skin, leading to burns, wrinkles, dark spots, leathery skin and cancer.
Many from the scientific community are disturbed by the trend. There is no reason to significantly increase the risk of a life-threatening skin cancer on purpose. The Skin Cancer Foundation, USA, is warning about the dangers of “sunburn art,” the social media-fueled fad gaining popularity among young people.
They are issuing this warning: 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.
A sunburn is worse than a tan, but any time you’re in contact with ultraviolet light, you’re damaging your skin.
The US Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a complete sun-protection regimen that includes daily sunscreen use, seeking shade whenever possible, wearing protective clothing and a broad-brimmed hat and donning sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) rays. The sunscreen should be a broad-spectrum lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.