I fully checked out of work and email this past July 4th holiday—opting to set up shop under an umbrella in my backyard, stocked with various mediums of SPF 50, a sun visor and a stack of reading material.
Come Wednesday, as I reentered society, the kind folks over at SkinStore sent the team an email that shared some “viral TikTok tanning hacks” they were raising the red flag on.
The most cringe-worthy: The trend of applying a can of beer to the body—in the sun, minus sun protection—to deliver “your best tan ever.”
“While some people believe in the benefits of hop and yeast to enrich the skin, pouring lager directly onto the skin will lead to a build-up of yeast in certain areas and cause an infection,” the experts at SkinStore warn of the circulating videos. “This could be anything from a red rash to large bumps, which could be made much worse by the sticky smell of beer on your body increasing the likelihood of being bitten and stung by bugs. Opting for a can of beer rather than sunscreen will leave you vulnerable and unprotected against any harmful ultraviolet radiation, leading to sunstroke, sunburn, and the potential risk of skin cancer.”
We asked Phoenix, AZ dermatologist Dr. Karan Lal if he had heard of the “hack” and it didn’t take him long to stress how harmful it is via a lengthy list of bullet points: “Tanning is bad by itself. Adding beer only makes it worse for a number of reasons.”
As Dr. Lal explains, a tan is essentially when your body’s melanocytes spit out pigment to help you from further sun damage-it’s an initial protective mechanism. “Beer can accelerate this tanning effect through causing further release of melanin. Tanning is known to cause skin cancer—there is more than enough evidence linking UV exposure to melanoma. Short bursts of high UV exposure, which come from tanning causes DNA damage increasing your risk of skin cancer. Not only does it have lethal consequences, but tanning also ages your skin faster.”
Still not scared? Consider these additional not-so-sweet facts from Dr. Lal: “Don’t forget, beer is full of sugar! If you slathering yourself in sugar, you are more likely to get acne, folliculitis and bug bites. Plus, to put things into further perspective: Malignant melanoma is the most common cancer among women and men aged 25–29. This may be linked to poor sun habits such as tanning and recurrent UV exposure.”
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