Doctors warn against 'Sunburn Art' social media trend

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Think tattoos are painful? The latest trending body art has sunbathers literally baking logos and designs into their skin, and posting the images on social media.

Now skin experts and doctors are warning everyone that it could be a recipe for skin cancer.

Images of sunburn tattoos are making the rounds on social media websites using #sunburnart. Sun worshipers are placing decals on their skin. Once the burn settles in, they're left with designs similar to tattoos.

For anyone thinking the images are temporary, dermatologists warn that it is not always the case, depending on the intensity of the burn.

"One deep sunburn is damaging to the skin, permanently. your skin never forgets," said Dr. Richard LeConey at the Institute Of Anti-Aging. "There will be some long lingering pigment effects there that won't go away. Even when their skin lightens up, there will probably be some residual faintness of this image."

Not only is there a potential for leaving permanent marks, there are other side effects.

"You will start to see increased wrinkling of the skin, drying effects of the skin," said LeConey.

But that's not all. LeConey says you're putting yourself at risk for skin cancer.

"Your skin is basically remembering all this and it will eventually cause skin cancers, in particular susceptible individuals," LeConey said.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a person's risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.

LeConey says to take action soon if you find a questionable spot on your body.

"Anything that looks a little bit different, doesn't look like a normal freckle, is probably a good idea to have that checked by an expert," LeConey said.

If you need help on what to look for, medical experts have put together this helpful tool.

For those who want to want to tan, LeConey says there are safer options.

"Look at a spray tan type of treatment. Because at least so far as we know, that does not have these long lasting consequences," LeConey said.
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