'Beer Tanning': The Summer TikTok Trend To Avoid At All Costs - Here's Why

From the Tide Pod challenge to the frozen honey dare, it seems the careless social media trends never die. Among the newest on the list is the summer beer tanning trend. Yes, beer tanning is actually a thing. As seen in a video shared by The Sfeir Family on TikTok, the claim that beer can make you tan faster is being perpetuated online. 


Although Arizona-based dermatologist Dr. Karan Lal confirmed to NewBeauty that "beer can accelerate the tanning effect," the fad comes with some risks. After all, there's no such thing as a safe sun tan.

Beer tanning essentially involves using beer as tanning lotion. You just pour or lather beer all over your legs and arms — and any other part of your body that you want to tan. Some people refer to it as a "beer shower." Then, you lie out in the sun and let it bronze your skin.

It's unclear if the video creators posted their experiences as a joke or if they genuinely believe tanning with beer is a good idea. Either way, the potential dangers are worth mentioning, since some viewers are still attempting the trend with hopes of obtaining a great tan in a short amount of time. Dr. Lal warns that beer tanning could cause premature aging of the skin and even increase the risk of skin cancer.


The health implications of beer tanning

"I was shocked. Why would anyone do this?" Cleveland Clinic dermatologist Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal told FOX8 News in response to the trend. It's a commonly asked question of many of the other TikTok challenges. She says pouring beer all over your skin can essentially suffocate it, leaving you at an increased risk for dehydration and heat stroke. The CDC considers heat stroke to be one of the most dangerous heat-related illnesses, with symptoms ranging from seizures to confusion to loss of consciousness. If left untreated, it could even be fatal.


SpaSeekers director Jason Goldberg told Daily Mail that this trend could also lead to sun poisoning (which Cleveland Clinic explains is severe sunburn). Since beer doesn't contain any SPF ingredients, it offers no protection against the sun's UV rays. Symptoms of this illness may include nausea, confusion, blistering skin, fainting, dizziness, or lightheadedness.

Skin cancer is perhaps the most worrying concern associated with beer tanning. When the skin is exposed to enough UV radiation over time, it can increase the chances of skin cancer, according to the FDA. Exposure to UV rays can damage the DNA in skin cells, which can lead to cancerous growths on the skin. It can also weaken the immune system, robbing the body of its much-needed shield against invasive cancer cells.


Safer tanning alternatives

With all factors considered, beer tanning is simply not a good idea. In fact, the FDA warns that any form of sun tanning can be dangerous, especially if you spend a significant amount of time in direct sunlight without any form of skin protection. The good news is, there's a way to get that coveted golden complexion without any sun-related health risks, because it doesn't involve the sun at all.


You can find a number of self-tanners from any physical or online store that sells skincare products, like Walmart, Target, and Amazon. From mousses and body butters to lotions and sprays to serums and face drops, there are dozens of options available. Some products are designed to give you a tan that lasts up to 10 days while others last for only 24 hours.

So skip the beer and opt for a self-tanner instead if you want a nice, safe tan this summer. And if you must be out in the sun, wear protective clothing and a good sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and make sure to reapply it every two hours.