Why Are People Tanning with Coca-Cola?

Why Are People Tanning with Coca-Cola?

Vain people are coming around to Coca-Cola, but not in a way you’d expect – and it has health experts concerned.

In the spirit of summer, beach bums are turning to the newest viral hack to expedite their tans: rubbing Coca-Cola on their skin.

According to The Independent, people think the classic beverage helps them tan faster, using it rather than tanning lotion when they’re out in the heat.

The trend is actually nothing new, with people trying Coca-Cola rub as early as 2006. Australian entertainer Peter Andre certainly played a role when he revealed that he would soak himself in Coca-Cola before catching some rays.

It’s gaining popularity over a decade later; it’s garnered so much momentum in the U.K. that Coca-Cola actually had to add this statement to their website: “As much as we love Coca-Cola, we really wouldn’t recommend using it in this way. There is no sun protection factor in it at all – it’ a drink!”

Photo Credit: Alex Scube/BigStock

Even with its immense popularity, Toronto dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett reminds us there is no scientific evidence that suggests the Australian’s claims are accurate. She even goes so far to say the trend is dangerous, with the ingredients in cola doing more damage to skin than anything else.

“Some of the [ingredients] in it – like citric acid – can be an irritant to the skin,” Kellett explains. “But I don’t know if many are aware of this, but it also contains lime juice – and lime juice will actually make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.”

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Kellett says citric acid and corrosiveness in cola actually act like an exfoliant on skin – while this removes dead cells, it leaves a person vulnerable to sunburns and other skin conditions.

“In the short-term – because it makes you more sensitive to sunlight – you can get UVA and UVB induced erythema, which is redness, like a sunburn,” she continued. “But over the long-term, we know that without photoprotection, it not only increases your risk of premature aging, but also causes changes to the DNA which might increase your risk of skin cancer.”

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