Sunburn 'Art' Makes Experts Cringe

PHOTO: People can use sunblock to create "sunburn art". Getty Images
People can use sunblock to create "sunburn art".

This summer some sunbathers are getting a little creative by trying their hand with “sunburn” art. On social media people can be found using sunblock or temporary tattoos to create “artful” sunburns. But experts cringe at the practice warning that any sunburn can lead to damage and increased chance of skin cancer.

“This is where popular culture is clashing with medical advice,” said Dr. Barney Kenet, a New York-based dermatologist. “It’s really obvious that sunburn does two things to you: it gives you lines and freckles and wrinkles and it also causes skin cancer especially melanoma.”

Kenet said that if people were really aiming to have a good clean example of sunburn “art” they may be inclined to stay out in the sun longer.

That awful sunburn actually turned out to be pretty badass but still hurts like a MF #sunburn #ouch #sunburnart

A photo posted by Brenden Eleen (@bbear430) on May 29, 2014 at 5:17am PDT

“Then there’s the motivation for getting a good burn,” he explained. “The practice is tempting them to burn even worse.”

Kenet said worryingly those who try to get a good “sunburn art” could be even more at risk for melanoma than those who are exposed to lower levels of sunlight overtime, such as someone who works in the sun.

Kenet explained that a deep burn for someone who is fair-skinned means that person will be at a higher likelihood of getting melanoma even though there may be less overall visible skin damage such as sunspots or wrinkles.

This holiday weekend the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying in the shade, wearing long-sleeved shirts to protect against UV rays and applying broad spectrum SPF throughout the day. No sunblock “designs” necessary.