‘Sunburn Tattoos’ Are Apparently Summer’s Scorching Hot New Look

These “tattoos” aren’t as permanent as regular ones, but are arguably as questionable as putting a lover’s name on your arm. “Sunburn tattoos” could be the choice look for some beachgoers this summer.

The aesthetic involves people placing stencils on their skin, and then letting the sun’s intense rays redden the templates’ surroundings. The resulting effects are comparably light designs, which are more apparent on paler skin.

According to Inked Mag, the trend was invented by French artist Thomas Mailaender back in 2015. Mailaender imprinted photo negatives on the skin of sunburnt bodies via ultraviolet light, leaving behind intricate images of red and white.

Since then, the hashtag “#sunburntattoo” has popped up on social media, revealing pictures of people who have had stars, the Batmanlogo, and other graphics semi-permanently impressed onto their skin with the help of man’s oldest tattoo artist, the sun.

A company specializing in this modification, SunTanTattoo, was even started to help people achieve the whitespace “inks” of their desires. Thankfully, its stickers are also specially designed to work with self-tanners so users would not have to endure the sun’s harmful rays.

As you can imagine, this trend might not just be as short-lived as a summer fling—it can have lasting effects on your skin. Dr Mary Stevenson, dermatologic surgeon and assistant professor at NYU Langone, told New York Post that prolonged exposure of UVA and UVB rays, which could in turn result in “blistering sunburns,” could ultimately lead to skin cancer.

Dr Stevenson says she deals with skin cancers daily, and urges patients to “avoid burning” and use physical blockers containing titanium or zinc oxide before going about their day under the sun.