Please don’t use beer to get a tan — yes, it’s a thing on TikTok

Nikki Sommer, a nurse with Key West Surgical Group, joined Good Morning Keys this morning on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM to talk about medical matters.

Sun exposure is a serious concern, especially in the Keys, and some new videos on TikTok are definitely a cautionary tale.

Sommer said, “There is several videos of people posting that they pour beer, I guess as well as drink it, one for the body, one for the stomach, I guess. It helps you tan. it. It increases melanin, so you get a darker tan. Something about the hops I guess can give you that darker appearing tan. So it says that the hops in the beer will stimulate the production of melatonin, which leads to a tan. However, there’s no evidence to support this other than the people on TikTok saying that they’re now browner than they were before.”

There are no scientific studies to prove any of this.

Sommer said, “Other than you know, obviously, dermatologists and doctors all over saying this is a very bad, bad thing because you’re not putting sunscreen on, you’re just putting on beer. Then if you put sunscreen on and put the beer on top of that, you most likely will wash away your sunscreen.”

A dermatologist has described the TikTok trend as disastrous.

Sommer said, “We’ve talked about skin cancer before and I’ve had the melanoma, so it’s something that’s near and dear to me. So stay away from these crazy trends of applying beer to the body.”

Bad sunburns can lead to heat exhaustion.

Sommer said, “You’re basically burning your skin and it takes all the moisture out of your body. And if you’re drinking alcohol, which also can dehydrate you, plus sunbathing can lead to heat exhaustion. So it can be incredibly dangerous, especially if you don’t realize that that is what is going on. You may become sleepy, headache, dizziness, have confusion, don’t want to eat, feeling sick, kind of feeling sick to your stomach, like you want to vomit, excessive sweating. Clammy skin, cramps in your arms, legs and stomach, like those charley horse cramps. Excessive thirst, when if you’re breathing really fast or your pulse is racing, you’ll probably notice your pulse is racing. If you’re breathing really fast, and your pulse is racing, and you have all those things you better to get to the emergency room. You’re still at risk for heat exhaustion with the temperatures that we are experiencing.”

There really is no such thing as a safe tan.

Sommer said, “That’s probably an appropriate wording that people just assume if they use an SPF of higher and they get a little tan, it’s okay. So really what this is saying there is no tan that is safe. When you do tan, even when you apply sunscreen, it does increase your risk for skin cancer. So there is no such thing as a safe tan. Even if you’re putting on SPF 100 and then you’re laying in the sun, trying to catch some rays, you’re still at risk for skin cancer.”

If you’ve got to have a tan, there are spray on tans available that are far safer.

Sommer said, “One thing about a fake tan and I didn’t look this up because years ago they used to say they weren’t good either. But this is saying that self tanners have come a long way and they do make it look more natural. Not as orangey, so you don’t look like an orange, more evenly, a little darker. They do make them where you’re not as blotchy, so it kind of evens out your skin tone. When you’re in the sun you do get blotchy bumps, different dark spots as we get older they come out more often.”

You don’t need to sunbathe in order to experience sun damage and be sure to use an SPF of 30 or higher.

Sommer said, “If you plan on being outside longer than 20 minutes and we’ve talked about always have some type of protective gear if you know you’re going to be in the sun, sunglasses because the sun can hurt your eyes just like your skin and wear a hat or covering, long sleeve shirt, if you can. But the other thing is always wear sunscreen probably on your face and your arms, even like we’ve talked about you’re walking around, in and out of the car, you’re still exposed to the sun even though you think you’re not physically sitting in the sun.”

The bottom line is the beer tanning trend on TikTok is a no go.