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Tanning of the genital areas: what is this new dangerous trend?

Social media platforms are constantly launching new trends, among the latest is the tanning of genital areas. However, the risks to the body should not be underestimated.

Published June 3, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read

What is genital tanning all about?

As the name suggests, it involvesexposing one's private parts directly to the sun's rays in order to tan them. This practice was launched on social media in 2019 by an American influencer named Meagan WHITSON. She explains that tanning the private parts for 30 seconds to 5 minutes every day would bring health benefits and aid in the synthesis of vitamin D.

The "perineum sunning" or "butthole sunning" then made its way around the Internet through astonishing photos showing individuals lying on their backs with both legs stretched up in the air to expose their genitals to the sun. They then attributed various benefits to this practice, such as improved sleep, a boost in energy, and even an increase in creativity and libido. However, this trend is strongly discouraged by all health professionals who associate it with numerous risks.

The risks of tanning genital areas.

Until this day, no study has demonstrated the benefits of this practice. On the contrary, exposing the body's delicate areas to UV rays is not without risk. Depending on their wavelength, these rays penetrate the epidermis or dermis, generating an excess of free radicals. These free radicals then attack and weaken cellular membranes and proteins. They also react with DNA and can cause genetic mutations, potentially leading to melanomas and cancers.

This is even more true when it comes to intimate areas. The skin in these areas of the body is not at all prepared for sun exposure, as it is usually never exposed and thus synthesizes very little melanin. Let's remember here that while this brown pigment provides an aesthetic tan, its primary role is to protect the skin and the body. Exposure of the genital areas to UV rays can cause long-term damage, as they are naturally less protected. Moreover, the pain caused by skin dryness or sunburn would be very intense in these areas.

New Trend: Should We Follow It?

It is essential to ask the right questions before embarking on this practice. These body parts are particularly delicate and sensitive. Is it then reasonable to expose them to UV rays? Moreover, we have just seen that no scientific study has been able to demonstrate the alleged benefits of this practice. On the contrary, all dermatologists agree that it presents numerous risks and should not be undertaken lightly.

Furthermore, the American influencer asserts that it is unnecessary to apply sunscreen to the genital areas. However, all scientists agree on this point: theapplication of a sun care product is essential before any exposure. This product acts on the surface of the epidermis and forms a protective filter against UVA and UVB rays. As for the intimate areas, sunscreen should only be applied to the external areas and should not be used in the vagina or come into contact with its internal walls, as this could cause an infection.

Regarding the synthesis of vitamin D, it occurs regardless of the exposed area. It is therefore better if it is a part of the body more prepared to receive UV rays, and above all, previously protected with sunscreen. It should also be noted that vitamin D is found in certain foods, particularly fish, such as cod liver oil, herring, sardines, mackerel... Finally, in case of deficiency, it is possible to get prescribed vitamin D in capsule or powder form by your primary care physician.

In conclusion, here is our opinion on genital tanning: it is better to avoid this dangerous trend.


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