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‘Beer Tanning’ is the TikTok Trend of the Summer. Here’s What Doctors Are Saying About It

The latest social media trend has doctors again saying, “Please don’t.”

Videos by Outdoors

Several viral TikTok videos show people using beer as tanning oil. The videos claim the hops in the beer will help tan your skin. The result is people covering themselves in beer and sitting in the sun.

Medical professionals are pushing back against this advice, including one doctor from the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. Dermatologist Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal spoke to a local TV station, telling them she was shocked when she saw the videos. 

As a doctor, she recommends using sunscreen. She says the beer isn’t doing anything useful (besides being gross). The lack of protective layers or sunscreen allows harmful UV rays that can burn or damage your skin.

The CDC reported more than 77,000 cases of skin cancer in 2020. Just over 8,000 of those cases were fatal. The federal agency recommends anyone in the sun to follow these steps:

  • Find shade when possible
  • Wear sunglasses, hats and other protective clothing
  • Apply and reapply sunscreen
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  1. Sorry but as soon as your “expert” recommended sunscreen, I knew she was full of shit. Sunscreen CAUSES cancer and should never be used. I would certainly use beer over sunscreen but, to play it safe, I would limit sun exposure in the summer months to before noon and after 4 or so but, even during those peak hours, a half-hour or so in the sun will be much more beneficial than harmful.

    1. Juan De Fuca

      Sunscreens are generally broken up into two categories, chemical (sunscreen) and mineral (sunblock). (It should be noted that both types contain chemicals but of different compositions). The chemicals that are in sunscreen, which is the predominant choice for most people, are the real concern. Recent studies have showed that all four active ingredients tested (avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule) entered the bloodstream in just one day at levels high enough to warrant further investigation. Three of the ingredients remained in the bloodstream even after seven days, according to the FDA.
      Another study suggests that some of these chemicals can penetrate the skin and either mimic critical hormones in the body or disrupt them. The discovery of Benzene (a known cancer causing agent) in about 80 sunscreen products a couple of years ago was a real shocker because it is not part of the ingredients of any skin product. The thinking is that it was introduced from the ethanol used in the manufacturing process. If you have old sunscreen laying around check the FDA recall list to make sure your product is safe. Mineral based sunblocks contain oxides and dioxides that lay on the surface of the skin (rather than being absorbed) and act as a physical block. There are great resources online in regards to this complicated subject. In addition to how it affects humans it also has a crippling effect on the world we live in. According to Cheryl Woodley, research scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Pollution in the environment from chemical sunscreens can result in a reduced resilience to climate change events, and even contribute to reproductively impaired organisms, including coral and fish, that can go locally extinct in a matter of generations by inducing sterility and reproductive failure.” Personally I’m using physical blockers, I work outside a great deal and need the extra protection. Physical blockers may be more difficult to apply, but that seems like a small trade-off when compared to the alternative of chemical blockers. Almost all of this information was gleaned from skincancer.org, Yale and Harvard medicine articles and some other science organizations. Beer is for drinking, not for basting.

  2. Pingback: Doctors warn against 'potentially deadly' new trend promising 'best tan ever' - YoursBulletin

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