Don't Give Yourself A 'Sunburn Tattoo'

I hate to talk people out of something that is easy, whimsical, and almost free. But here goes: it’s best not to give yourself a sunburn tattoo. Or to let your kids give themselves sunburn tattoos. Summer is approaching sooner than you'd think, but that doesn't mean you should look forward to roasting yourself at the beach.

The idea is that you apply a sticker to your skin, then sit out in the sun long enough to get a sunburn. Remove the sticker to reveal the paler skin underneath, and voila, you have a semi-permanent design on your skin. It’s a cute idea! I respect that!

But the only way to make it work is to give yourself a sunburn (or at least a very deep tan). Yeah, all of us pale-skinned folks have had sunburns in the past, but each one ratchets up your lifetime skin cancer risk. Cancer Research UK notes that getting burned just once every two years can triple your risk of melanoma.

It’s not the pink colour itself that puts you at risk, but the sun exposure — meaning that if you’re a bit more careful, and give yourself a deep tan instead of a burn, you’re not really much better off.

Is a single sunburn (or suntan) tattoo going to kill you? No. But it’s a foolish thing to do on purpose. If you really love the look, you can always slap on a sticker and fake a tan with sunless tanner.


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