Health experts have branded a new social media trend as dangerous. The trend, which involves exposing skin on certain areas of the body to the sun to create patterns and then posting the results on social networking websites, could lead to serious conditions. The sunburned skin shows different patterns and designs, resembling tattoos.
Whilst the designs are temporary, they could end up causing permanent skin damage and lead to life threatening conditions such as skin cancer.
Skin cancer is currently one of the most common forms of cancer in the US. The American Cancer Society expressed its fears about the new social media sunburn trend, stating that there could be a significant rise in the number of cases of melanoma this year if it carries on. Experts have warned that exposing skin could also lead to premature ageing.
Dr Thomas Rohrer, a dermatologist, said of the trend: “While it may be entertaining, it is intentionally exposing your skin to harmful ultraviolet radiation. Sunburns and tans have been definitively linked to skin cancer and ageing of the skin.”
The Skin Cancer Foundation also showed concern and has released a statement warning people about how sunburn art can affect their health and advising them to avoid burning their skin.
“The Skin Cancer Foundation strongly advises the public to avoid sunburns at all costs,” Dr Deborah S. Sarnoff from the foundation said in the statement.
“A sunburn is not only painful – it’s dangerous, and comes with consequences. Sunburns cause DNA damage to the skin, accelerate skin ageing, and increase your lifetime skin cancer risk. In fact, sustaining five or more sunburns in youth increases lifetime melanoma risk by 80%. On an average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.”
Experts also offered advice to help reduce the risk of skin diseases and cancer, stating that people should apply sun cream to protect their skin in high temperatures. People are also advised to reapply the cream after swimming or sweating so that their skin remains protected.
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