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Beer tanning: Beware of this bizarre social media trend, warn experts

Beer tan is the new social media beauty trend that many seem to be curious about. But if you are thinking of getting beer tan, think again.
Beer tanning trend
Beware of the beer tanning trend, warn experts. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 15 Jul 2023, 10:40 am IST
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Right from period blood facial to bleached eyebrow, many bizarre beauty trends on social media have come and gone. Joining the list is a beer tan trend, which entails using the alcoholic drink as a tanning agent on the skin. Some netizens have claimed that it gives “the best tan ever” and is very much affordable. It’s not that hard to believe as many claims have been made about the benefits of beer. But is using beer for tanning really healthy for your skin or is it simply an ill-advised TikTok trend? We spoke to experts to weigh in on the beer tan trend.

To know if you should indulge in beer tanning or not, Health Shots reached out Dr Sandeep Babbar, Medical Director and Dermatologist, Revyve Skin, Hair and Nail Clinic, Faridabad, and Dr Akriti Gupta, Cosmetic Dermatologist at Jivisha Clinic, New Delhi.

beer tan
Beer tan is a new social media trend. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What is a beer tan?

This new social media craze is about taking a beer shower before tanning in the sun. Dr Gupta says those who have tried the beer tan trend assert that pouring beer all over your body is a “cheap way” to tan quicker.

Does beer work for tanning?

Tanning in the sun in general is frowned upon. As per Food and Drug Administration, evidence suggests that tanning a lot raises your chances of developing skin cancer. Also, getting a sun tan will not protect your skin from skin damage. Add beer to it, and things get worse. Dr Babbar cautions against relying on such social media beauty trends, saying that beer tanning is a highly risky trend that could have catastrophic effects.

Dr Gupta explains that the yeasts in beer are beneficial for nourishing skin, which naturally dries out from contact to the sun. They aid in the absorption of the melanin itself. However, if you use a beer can and no sunscreen, you would be leaving yourself defenseless against the sun’s rays. She says that you run a higher chance of getting a sunburn, heatstroke or in extreme situations, even sun poisoning.

According to Dr Gupta, if you try this social media for fun, make sure to take a shower using fresh water and a light soap to avoid damaging the skin’s delicate balance, which gets strained by the sun.

The combination of beer and sun is bad for the skin

It is not just application, but also consumption in the sun that may be bad for your skin. Dr Babbar says that alcohol consumption can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage. He explains that the red, yellow and orange pigments that are made by plants are called carotenoids. When we eat fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids, these pigments have an antioxidant effect on our bodies that might help to shield against ultraviolet rays damage. However, when we drink beer or any other alcohol, our body produces fewer carotenoids. And that makes us more susceptible to skin cancer and sunburn.

beer tan
Even drinking beer in the sun isn’t good. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Tips to protect your skin from sun exposure

When the skin gets exposed to UV rays, it produces more melanin in an effort to shield the skin from further damage. So, over the next 48 hours of sun exposure, your skin tone might darken due to the rise of melanin. Here’s what to do when you can’t ignore the sun:

1. Apply sunscreen liberally

Look for the perfect sunscreen with a broad spectrum, since this will shield you from both UVA and UVB rays of the sun. If you have dark complexion, SPF 15 or 20 will do, says Dr Babbar. Otherwise, SPF 30 or more is ideal.

2. Take breaks from the sun

This will lower the UV intensity, reduce your risk of sunburn, and make your tan healthier.

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3. Cover up

Cover up with clothes, especially if you have any burned areas, in addition to taking pauses and looking for shade.

4. Maintain hydration

Before going outside in the sun, drink a lot of water and eat sun-friendly foods. Lycopene, the skin’s natural SPF, is found in certain foods. Dr Babbar says the antioxidant that can significantly increase your sun protection by 33 percent is present in tomatoes and other red and orange fruits as well as vegetables.

Be it application or consumption, try to keep beer away from you when you are out in the sun!

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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