CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A summertime trend called "sunburn tattoos" has experts voicing their concern.

They're all over social media. People are putting stencils or stickers on their skin, then they lay in the sun without sunscreen. 

After you burn and take the stencil off – left behind is an outline known as the “sunburn tattoo.” 

They might be getting lots of likes on social media, but medical professionals say the long-term health effects are not worth the short-term internet fame.

“I think the thing people forget is your skin is the largest organ in your body," said Julie Emery, Nurse Practitioner with Fort Mill Family Practice. 

"We wouldn’t think about doing that to our heart or lungs or anything like that. When you do it to your skin it’s just as dangerous.”

Emery says social media tends to perpetuate fads that are not good for you. 

“A lot of these internet viral challenges are often very damaging to your body,” she said, adding that she hopes parents talk to their kids about this – silly as it seems.

“Be involved to be on your kids' social media don’t just turn a blind eye to it.”

She said burning your skin on purpose could cause life-threatening issues later.

“The younger you open that door, the more dangerous that becomes," Emery said.

“People think of it as one mole that can be removed but there are types of skin cancer that get deep inside of you. Melanoma can spread to your brain your lungs your liver all over your body.”

Moral of the story: this trend might have had its day in the sun, but it’s probably best to break out the sunscreen instead.


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