It’s well documented that tanning naturally can come with a range of health risks, but now experts are warning against a new tanning trend that could prove to be even more dangerous.
From spending time and money on sun bed sessions to soaking up rays in the nearest park, some people will go to extreme lengths to build up a bronzed glow ahead of their summer holidays.
Now, according to reports, sun-worshippers have picked up on a new trend that is posing seriously scary risks to skin health – lathering up with Coca-Cola to boost their tan.
It’s thought that people are smearing the drink over their bodies like tanning oil before stepping out into soaring temperatures are penetrative UV rays, but experts have been warning that the unusual method could be putting skin safety at risk.
Speaking to beauty site Allure, Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said of the fad: ‘While some feel that Coca-Cola can speed up your tan, it actually can be dangerous, and I recommend staying away from it.’
‘Applying it to the skin may lead to a temporary darkening or staining of the skin, but because sodas are acidic, it may exfoliate dead cells, enhancing the ability of UV light penetrate into the skin. Ultimately, this may increase your risk of a sun burn.’
Experts say the trend first started gaining traction in the UK last year, but it’s been doing the rounds for a little while now, and with the recent soaring temperatures in the UK, sun-worshippers have been jumping on the bandwagon again this summer.
The logic is that the food colouring contained in the fizzy drink can give a caramel hue to skin, giving a deeper tan, but with dermatologists like Joshua advising that it’s just not worth it, the risks are clear.
Quite apart from the fact that tanning oil in itself is poor protection against the sun, often with little or no SPF and washing off easily in water, putting cola on the skin seems even more bizarre (not to mention how sticky and disgusting it must feel!).
According to Cancer Research UK, to stay safe in the sun you spend time in the shade, cover up with clothing, and use sun cream with at least SPF15 and 4 or more stars.
‘Sunscreens will not protect us completely from sun damage on their own,’ the explain. ‘However, they can be useful for protecting the parts of skin we can’t shade or cover. This is why we recommend using sunscreens together with shade or clothing to avoid getting too much UV exposure.’