Cancer doctors warn against 'Sunburn Art' fad - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Cancer doctors warn against 'Sunburn Art' fad

Search #SunBurnArt on Instagram, and you'll find dozens of examples of this bad idea. Search #SunBurnArt on Instagram, and you'll find dozens of examples of this bad idea.
Dr. Emily Touloukian, who is a physician at Coastal Cancer Center and also on staff at Grand Strand Medical Center, says there is nothing fun about the potential damage this behavior can cause. Dr. Emily Touloukian, who is a physician at Coastal Cancer Center and also on staff at Grand Strand Medical Center, says there is nothing fun about the potential damage this behavior can cause.
So when you are outside, wearing broad spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and wearing sunglasses is very important to your health. So when you are outside, wearing broad spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and wearing sunglasses is very important to your health.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Local cancer doctors are warning about the serious risks to what is being considered a new art form called Sunburn Art.

The fad is flooding social media with pictures of people creating patterns on their bodies by exposing certain parts of their skin to the sun without protection on purpose. The sunburns include everything from floral patterns to the Batman logo.

Dr. Emily Touloukian, who is a physician at Coastal Cancer Center and also on staff at Grand Strand Medical Center, says there is nothing fun about the potential damage this behavior can cause. Every single sunburn, no matter how severe or mild, is dangerous. Intentionally exposing skin over and over again means that part of your body is even more vulnerable to cancer.

“If you are diagnosed with melanoma, which is the most aggressive form of skin cancer, it can actually spread to other parts of the body - to your lungs, to your liver, and other organs throughout the body," Dr. Touloukian said.

Ocular melanoma is a risk as well. Dr. Touloukian described this as skin cancer that can originate in your eye. That’s why wearing sunglasses is so important, especially those with UV protection in the lenses.

The Skin Cancer Foundation released a statement denouncing sunburn art, warning that you need to avoid all sunburns at all costs. The statement also states: “In fact, sustaining five or more sunburns in youth increases lifetime melanoma risk by 80 percent. On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.”

Dr. Touloukian says skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S. with more than 3.5 million cases a year, which is more than all other cancer cases combined.

The simplest way to prevent skin cancer is to limit your exposure to radiation, whether it’s in the from sunlight or indoor tanning sources. Dr. Touloukian reminds everyone living in Grand Strand or just here to visit that you get a lot more UV radiation at the pool or the beach, because the sun reflect off the sand or water. So you can actually get double the UV exposure. So when you are outside, wearing broad spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and wearing sunglasses is also very important to your health.

It is also recommended that everyone perform monthly skin exams. You’re looking for any sudden changes in your skin that could be warning signs for skin cancer. The American Cancer Society offers the ABCDE rule to follow:

A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.

B is for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.

C is for Color: The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.

D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch – the size of a pencil eraser), although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.

E is for Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.

If you found an irregularity or are concerned about the health of your skin, reach out to your physician. Or you can click here for more information about Coastal Cancer Center.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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