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#SunburnArt: Is the Dangerous Trend Really a Trend?


A photo posted by Elin M Hansen (@elinmhansen) on

Images of so-called sunburn tattoos are being shared on social media, posted with the hashtags #sunburnart and #sunburntattoo. The images are created using stencils or by tactically applying suncream so that the contrast between burned and tanned skin makes a pattern, be it the Batman logo or a more intricate piece.

A photo posted by Lina (@linagonzalezmor) on



Many of the artists are skin type one and two, which means that they don't naturally tan and are therefore more at risk of permanent skin damage, says an article on the BBC website. The worst outcome of artfully burning your skin – as any self-respecting person should know – could be damage that leads to skin cancer. Since prevention is better than cure, is it worth the risk for the sake of a very temporary effect? Of course not. 

It's not known how widespread the phenomenon has become, but sunburn art has gained enough attention on social media lately that the US Skin Cancer Foundation has deemed it necessary to release a statement last week. 
Sunburns cause DNA damage to the skin, accelerate skin-ageing, and increase your lifetime skin cancer risk...On average, a person's risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.
But some media outlets are questioning if sunburn art is even worthy of being labelled a trend. There is a handful of photos floating around social media that seem to be genuine, but they are scant. The hashtag #sunburnart has only been used 231 times on Instagram, and most of these are only being used ironically, showing off embarrassing tan lines.


A TNW article puts the issue to bed by rejecting the so-called trend as scaremongering by the media. It would only be cause for real concern if significant numbers of people were actually burning their skin in the name of a hashtag trend – but they aren't, for now at least.

Aaron Waterhouse
Aaron is a recent English graduate from Durham University who is now working as a content writer intern. An enthusiastic traveller, he hopes to become a journalist and report from around the world. Follow him @AaronAtSMF

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#SunburnArt: Is the Dangerous Trend Really a Trend? Reviewed by Aaron Waterhouse on Thursday, July 09, 2015 Rating: 5

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