Allow me to transport you, friends, to suburban New Jersey circa 15 years ago. Every summer while I growing up, I would pack a few things for the beach: a towel, tanning oil, and a pack of stickers. Even then, we knew how awful sun exposure is for your skin. Still, friends would stick Playboy bunny stickers — I kid you not — above their hips or on their lower backs. Peel them off at the end of the beach day, and you’ve got yourself a sexy(?), intentional tan line. Or as the kids are apparently calling it these days, a «sunburn tattoo.»
The New York Post picked up on this long-running «trend,» which has resurfaced this year because the human race is nothing if not self-destructive. As the newspaper defines it, «People place stencils on exposed skin and head outside to soak up some rays. When that mission is complete, they remove the stencils to reveal ‘semi-permanent’ designs in paler skin tones.» There’s even a brand called FunTanTattoo that exists to help make skin damage appear more fun.
A browse of the hashtag #sunburntattoo on Instagram pulls up people who have «decorated» their bodies with negative-space tans in the shape of the Batman symbol, stars, and whatever «USDA Whore» means (please, no one tell me).
This won’t come as a shock, but Shari Marchbein, board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor at New York University, does not recommend trying this at home.
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