CLEVELAND (WJW) – On a sunny day, there is a lot that you can do: parasail, surf or just sit and soak in those warm rays.
On bright days, though, one of the first things you should do is reach for sunscreen.
“We put it on before we even left so that we would make sure that we had good coverage and that it had time to absorb,” said Becki Bell, who was visiting one of Cleveland’s lakefront parks with family this week. “We’re out here to enjoy the weather and enjoy the park, but not damage our skin.”
Unfortunately, some bad advice spreading on social media could make sunny-day activities even more damaging for your skin.
That’s because “beer tanning” appears to be a trend on social media. Proponents basically just pour a bottle on their skin, then soak in a dose of UV and other harmful rays.
Often there’s no sunscreen, no tanning oil and no protection.
“I was shocked. Why would anyone do this?” said Cleveland Clinic dermatologist Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal. “I think, besides everything we think about ultraviolet exposure and putting yourself outside without sunscreen … why would you put something sticky and messy all over your body?”
Khetarpal said beer tanning has the potential to do very damaging things to your skin.
Beer, she said, can keep your skin from breathing, which could make you more susceptible to heat stroke and dehydration.
It also leaves your skin unprotected from the sun’s harmful rays.
“The age groups that are following these trends are the 15- to 34-year-olds,” Khetarpal said. “That’s also the same group that has a disproportionately high incidence of skin cancer, and that is on the rise. So we’re just going to see that number go up as this population ages.”
Of course, there are alternatives to laying in the sun — and smelling like a bar — to get the look you want. Self-tanning sprays are a popular option, and safe if used as directed, Khetarpal said.
But if you’re at the beach, sunscreen is your best friend.
“Seek shade when you can. [Wear] sunscreen, broad spectrum, which is UVA, UVB, SPF 30 or higher,” Khetarpal advises. “There are people that don’t like the feeling of sunscreen, so if you want, throw on UPF clothing that has an ultraviolet protective factor.”