Sunburn art is dangerous, doctors warn

Doctors are warning against the new, dangerous trend of "sunburn art", which involves getting sunburns intentionally to create patterns on one's skin.

Recently, more and more people have shared photos of the patterns on their sunburned skin. These photos are posted on Instagram with hashtags such as #sunburnart and #tantattoo.

The sunburn marks are made by drawing patterns on parts of the skin using sunscreen. Another method involves the use of stickers as stencils.

Some people may have even chosen to expose their skin to the sun for an extended period of time to create "good" sunburn art, dermatologist Dr Barney Kenet said in an ABC News report.

According to the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), besides damaging the skin, excessive sun exposure also increases a person's risk of developing skin cancer.

In the magazine Singapore Health, Dr Pang Shiu Ming, a dermatologist from Singapore General Hospital explained: "Prolonged sun exposure causes photo-ageing, which is the main cause of skin reactions such as DNA mutation."

"Photo-ageing can result in changes in skin texture and blood vessels, and cause pigmentation and abnormal growths," he added.

Last year, My Paper reported that the number of people diagnosed with skin cancer in Singapore has increased by about 60 per cent in the past decade.

It is also one of the top ten cancers in the country, according to statistics published on the NCSS website.

Members of the public are advised to avoid excessive sun exposure and to protect their skin using hats, umbrellas, clothing and sunscreen.

minlee@sph.com.sg