Sunburn Art: A Dangerous Summer Trend That’s Not Worth the Risk

3 minute read

By Selena Singh

Sunburn art has gained popularity as a form of self-expression. However, this practice carries significant health risks, including the potential for severe sunburn and long-term skin damage. Start a search today to learn everything you need to know.

It’s a trend where individuals intentionally expose parts of their skin to the sun to create patterns. Medical experts are raising alarms about the dangers associated with sunburn art, emphasizing it isn’t worth the risk of skin cancer.

What Is Sunburn Art?

We all know of the traditional way to get a tattoo, but did you know there are other ways to painfully imprint patterns onto your body? Sunburn art is a 2015 summer trend that involves strategically covering up only a portion of your skin and going out to intentionally get sunburnt. The point? To have a design literally burnt into your skin. Ouch!

People have gotten really creative with this new trend, using masking tape or wearing cut-out shirts to create unique patterns on their skin. However, you should think twice before you hop on the sunburn art bandwagon, as it’s potentially dangerous, and likely something you’ll regret.

It Increases Your Risk of Skin Cancer

Sunburn art requires you to be out in the sun, unprotected, for varying amounts of time: about 15 minutes if you have a light skin tone, or multiple hours if you have a medium or dark skin tone. The problem with this is ultraviolet (UV) radiation progressively causes DNA damage to your skin, consequently increasing your risk of getting skin cancer (also called melanoma).

Exactly how much of a risk are you taking? Well, typically your risk for melanoma doubles if you’ve had more than five sunburns in your life. Additionally, if a youth sustains five or more sunburns, their lifetime melanoma risk increases by a whopping 80%! So, if you’re considering taking part in the sunburn art trend, think about whether it’s really worth increasing your risk for one of the most serious skin conditions.

It Speeds Up the Rate of Skin Aging

If you’d like to have youthful skin for as long as possible, there’s one piece of advice that any dermatologist would be happy to share with you: wearing sunscreen will help a great deal.  The reason for this is that the sun’s UV rays actually account for most of your skin’s aging. Sunscreen helps to block out these harmful rays by either absorbing or reflecting them before they reach your skin.

Studies show that wearing sunscreen daily prevents wrinkles and dark spots. It also reduces the signs of aging such as sagging and rough patches. However, if you take part in sunburn art you’d likely be ditching the sunscreen and protective layers of clothing only to look years beyond your actual age in the future.

It Can Make Your Acne Worse

Many people are under the impression that direct sunlight (and tanning) can lessen the appearance of acne. This couldn’t be more wrong; the sun actually causes your skin to dry out and become irritated, making acne issues worse. In addition, if you have very sensitive skin, UV rays will do more damage than they normally would on someone without sensitive skin.

It’s Painful

Have you ever had a severe sunburn? If you have, you’ll agree that it’s not the most comfortable feeling. When you’re out in the sun, UVB radiation activates a protein in the affected area, which triggers inflammation, causing the skin to become sensitive and painful.

There Are Safer Alternatives

Let’s face it: we all make impulsive decisions that seem great, only to look back and wonder what was going through our minds at the time. With sunburn art, it’s very possible you’ll eventually regret your decision. So, instead of putting yourself at risk for melanoma, damaging your skin and creating a sunburn pattern that may last more months than you had hoped, why not opt for a safer alternative?

If you’re afraid of getting permanent tattoos, you can always get a temporary tattoo. If that’s too childish for your tastes, you can also try traditional henna (without the chemicals) or body paint. Be sure to do your research; there are plenty of ways to express your artistic tendencies on your body without putting your life at risk.

Selena Singh