Beer tanning? Really? Experts weigh in on TikTok’s new toxic beauty trend

Tanners are now turning to dousing themselves in bottles of beer for a sunkissed glow – and experts are having to warn against it.

We are all suckers for finding the best tanning products to give us that holiday glow but sometimes, the tan can come at a price. Gone are the days of sizzling our skin with baby oil and olive oil – or so we thought. A new era of frazzling has emerged, this time with TikTok users DIY-ing their tan with beer. Yep, sunbathers are apparently pouring cans of Stella all over the body. Experts, of course, say otherwise, as the ingredients in beer can cause long-term skin issues. 

Behind the beer, it is the sugars and acids in the alcoholic beverage that are leading people to suggest that the skin can potentially be darkened when applied. Some believe that the yeast in the beer may speed up the tanning process, particularly the hops component, which are the flowers or cones of a plant that keep the beer fresher for longer. It is technically effective in achieving a darker tan, and users are showing off their ‘beer tans’ across the platform. The trend encourages sunbathers to pour a can or two on the body and then sit in the sun, saying it takes less time to achieve a deeper tan. 

One user went so far as to claim that it gave them their “best tan ever”, after filming themselves picking up a cheap beer from the corner shop and having a “beer shower”. Interesting. Apart from the obvious smelling like a pub carpet issue, skin specialist and founder of The Glasshouse Salon & Spa Caroline Brooks warns us of all the damage this trend can do to your skin. “Beer does not contain any sunscreen properties, so relying on it for sun protection can be harmful to the skin and increase the risk of sunburns and long-term skin damage,” Brooks tells HUNGER

Tanning oils have long been a beauty industry favourite, but the information regarding the links between these tanning oils and skin cancer has been prominent since the 80s when tanning was somewhat a national pastime. It has now become a fact of common sense that oil increases your risks of skin issues and that products containing SPF reduce them drastically. 

So what do we use as an alternative? “The safest and most effective way to achieve a sun-kissed glow is by using self-tanning products or spray tans,” says Brooks. “[They are] specifically formulated for this purpose and have undergone rigorous testing to ensure their safety and effectiveness. Always prioritise the health and well-being of your skin when considering any beauty or tanning trend,” she adds. And, of course, always drink responsibly – meaning don’t pour your bev on yourself to get a blistering tan. 

WriterElla Chadwick
Banner Image CreditUnsplash