Pouring Beer on your Skin Won’t Help Your Tan

By Steve Blanchard - July 31, 2023

When Ashley Culbreth, Moffitt Cancer Center Cutaneous advanced practice provider supervisor, was presented with recent social media “tips” on tanning, she couldn’t help but laugh.

“I’ve never heard of some of these,” she said. “Yes, these are all myths.”

Culbreth shared her thoughts on five popular myths circulating on social media during a recent cancer screening event held at Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach.

MYTH: Pouring beer on your skin will help you tan because the hops in beer can activate melanin.

No, absolutely not. I don’t know where that started, and I’ve never heard of that. If you are pouring beer on yourself to get a tan, please don’t. There’s no such thing as a healthy tan. Wear sunscreen.

MYTH: Base tans help prevent sunburns, and therefore prevents skin cancer.

No base tan is going to prevent you from getting skin cancer. Any form of a tan is damage to your skin, whether you can see it or not. Again, wear your sunscreen.

MYTH: I’m not at risk to get skin cancer because my routine doesn’t include any outdoor activities.

We also hear this a lot from patients. They’re surprised they have skin cancer because they didn’t spend a lot of time outdoors or grow up in an area with a lot of sun. But think about it, when you walk to your mailbox, walk your dogs, go to a sporting event, that’s accumulative sun damage to your skin.

MYTH: People who get tan easily and rarely get burned won’t get cancer.

I don’t think this is very true. People who have a darker complexion may not be at the highest risk for skin cancer, but you can still get skin cancer. It’s all about protecting your skin.

MYTH: Teenagers and young adults don’t have to worry about cancer. It only affects older adults.

Unfortunately, this is also untrue. Cancer does not discriminate by age or skin type. It’s kind of sad but everyone needs to practice sun safety at any time of their life.

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