Health risks with sunburn tattoos

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Have you heard of sunburn tattoos?

It’s a trend showing up on social media and it’s risky.

First, you’ll need some sun, sunscreen, a design.

If you lay out in the sun and let some time go by and you’ve got yourself a sunburn tattoo.

While it may sound and look fun, doctors warn of the dangers.

“Oh wow! That looks pretty cool” says 13-year old, Eli Cargas when we showed him pictures of different sunburn tattoos.

His mother, Allison Caragas’ reaction was a little different.

“I’ve seen people do pranks, where they wrote on somebody’s back when they’re sleeping.”

At first glance, many people are amazed when they see pictures of sunburn tattoos.

Doctors say while it may look cool, you should be careful about trying it out.

“Like any trend, we may not realize the damage until later on,” said Dr. Michael Ioffreda, Professor of Dermatology at Hershey Medical Center.

Sunburn tattoos are named after their description.

People literally burn a design into their skin on purpose.

According to Dr. Ioffreda, “anytime you’re doing unprotected sun exposure to your skin, you’re doing damage to your skin.”

“I just had a piece of basil cell removed from my skin, so for me now obviously sunburn is becoming a lot more of a concern” said Allison Cargas.

Dr. Ioffreda says you could be subjected to life-changing consequences.

“Your skin has memory, so it remembers the damage. You may not see it right away but decades down the line, you may develop skin cancer from that exposure.”

As for Allison Cargas, she said she’ll be having a talk with her son.

“When he said ‘oh, that’s pretty cool!’ That drew a red flag for me.”

Eli offers an explanation, “I mean, it just seemed pretty cool that you could do that just using natural forces like the sun.”

Doctors say if you’re going to be out in the sun, be sure to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

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