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@mmaurakimm/ TikTok

‘I really do not care, I just wanna be tan’: Teenager called out over promoting cancer-causing TikTok tanning trend

'Be safe, wear sunscreen.'


Victoria Gagliardo-Silver


Posted on Jul 29, 2022

Many people love the look of a natural summer tan, but laying out in the sun for extended periods of time can give you much more than a darker complexion, like wrinkles or skin cancer. TikTokers are reminding user Maura (@mmaurakimm) that suntanning doesn’t come without risks after she posted a video applying a homemade tanning oil she used to deepen her tan that she ‘highly recommends.’

In the video, Maura mixes iodine and baby oil and proceeds to apply the solution to her skin. She then heads outside to tan, showcasing her tan darkening over an hour. 

@mmaurakimm Highly recommend!! #fyp #foryoupage #viral #summer #tanning ♬ original sound – speedxsoundzxz

The video has garnered nearly 600,000 views and 20,000 likes. Commenters were quick to criticize the TikToker’s tanning recommendation.

One user said, “This has skin cancer written all over it.”

Another commenter said, “As a licensed esthetician, many of my clients with skin cancer do this.”

“Don’t do this please,” a third user added. “Be safe, wear sunscreen.”

Commenters were correct: baby oil attracts UV rays, increasing cell damage and skin cancer risk, while simultaneously prematurely aging, thinning, and wrinkling the skin. Both outdoor suntanning and indoor tanning beds hold these risks, with one use of an indoor bed increasing the risk of skin cancer by 75%. According to data from the Skin Cancer Foundation, there is no such thing as a safe tan, and the foundation recommends using sunless tanning products instead.

This isn’t the first time this “tanning hack” has gone viral on TikTok. In June, one woman shared the same tip, claiming to have used it since the 90’s. The video garnered 43,000 likes and 888,000 views, and faced similar criticisms of cancer risk. 

In a follow-up video, Maura made it clear she was unconcerned with the potential harm that can come from tanning. She says, “Hey guys, back again, just replying to the comment because shit’s gonna get annoying. I just wanted to say thanks for all the concern, but I really do not care, I just want to be tan.”

@mmaurakimm Replying to @jag_goff95 ♬ original sound – Mauraaaaaaa

The Daily Dot has reached out to Maura to comment on this story via TikTok comment, but was not met with a response in time for publication. 

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*First Published: Jul 29, 2022, 1:53 pm CDT