Newsflash: Using Coca-Cola To Get A Tan Is A Terrible & Dangerous Idea

One of the weirdest and worst trends this summer was definitely using Coca-Cola as tanning lotion. WTF? It sounds crazy, but people think that they’re getting a gorgeous glow and deeper tan from this technique. It’s total BS, of course.

  1. How did this even start? The Coca-Cola tanning trend began in the UK last year, but now it’s back with a bang. Even some celebs have been spotted lying around in Coca-Cola catching some rays, such as British reality stars Charlotte Crosby and Chloe Ferry. Seriously? 
  2. People assume it’s all good. They think that since Coca-Cola contains soda and caramel dye, it can accelerate your tan, giving it a deeper appearance. They assume that there’s nothing bad in Coca-Cola, so it’s safe to use on skin. Um, no.
  3. It only seems like it’s giving you a tan. At first, you might think that Coca-Cola really does work. Your skin looks a bit darker after you’ve been in the sun with it, but that’s just because of the caramel dye. You’ve basically just stained your skin, the way you’d stain it purple if you rubbed mulberries over it. But it doesn’t last, so don’t be fooled. GTFO of the sun!
  4. There’s no science to back this up. Seriously, the dark color of Coca-Cola isn’t enough to boost your tan or make you achieve a darker skin tone in a hurry, so you’d be wasting your time by trying this idiotic trend—and putting your skin and health at risk in the process.
  5. This isn’t safe. It’s not safe to put Coca-Cola on your skin instead of sun protection. In fact, nothing’s safe to use instead of UV protection. This trend is like when people were putting baby oil on their skin, and remember how that turned out? Yeah, lots of burns, blisters, and skin problems that never went away. Not fun.
  6. It’s gross. It might be delicious in an ice cream float, but on your skin? Ugh. Coca-Cola is sticky and sweet—it’s sure to make you feel really gross when you’re lying lathered in it on the beach. Talk about not looking sexy. Although, you’ll probably be super sexy to those mosquitos and other insects that’ll be lured by its sweetness. Gross.
  7. Even if it worked, it’d be dumb. Have you ever tried and failed to get an even tan with self-tanner? It’s usually a big mission to get it right and avoid tan stripes. So imagine trying to get an even tan with Coca-Cola? How would you get it to stay on and cover your skin evenly so that the sun’s rays could tan you properly? What a joke!
  8. Its ingredients irritate the skin. One of Coca Cola’s ingredients is citric acid. This can irritate the skin. In fact, even though Coca-Cola tastes sweet, it’s actually highly acidic, with a pH of 2.37. Other things that have a pH level around 2 include stomach acid, vinegar, and lemons. Yes, stomach acid! If you’ve ever had heartburn, you’ll know how much that freaking hurts.
  9. It’s also got lime juice, which makes your skin extra sensitive. Yup, there’s lime juice in Coca-Cola (who knew?) and it makes skin more sensitive to the sun by exfoliating dead skin cells. This is bad news if you’re stepping out without UV protection—it can put you at greater risk of getting burned because your skin’s layers have been stripped away. You know not to exfoliate and then lie down under the sun, so don’t do that with Coca-Cola either!
  10. It’s got long-term consequences. You might get an ugly sunburn, which is dangerous (see point below) and painful AF. There are also other long-term consequences of trying to tan with Coca-Cola. These include premature lines and wrinkles, and an uneven skin tone. It’s not worth it. In fact, no tan would be worth throwing your skin and health in front of a bus!
  11. You can get cancer. Every single sunburn increases your risk of getting skin cancer. The Daily Telegraph reports a scary stat: if you have five serious sunburns, you boost your chance of deadly skin cancer by 80%! Since Coca-Cola can’t protect your skin from the sun’s harsh rays, using it is just asking for trouble.
  12. Coca-cola is abrasive. Just think about this before you put Coca-Cola on your skin: it’s sometimes used to clean jewelry and coins and unclog drains. Yikes, that shows you how abrasive it really is. According to experts, if you had to put it on your skin and go outside, it would be the same thing as peeling your skin with acid before heading out under those UV rays. Nasty!
  13. Coca-Cola isn’t impressed, y’all. The Coca-Cola company has weighed in on this weird trend, and a spokesperson on behalf of the company told Cosmo, “As much as we love Coca-Cola, we really wouldn’t recommend using it this way. There is no sun protection at all – it’s a drink!” Thank you. Can we put this stupid trend to bed for good now?
Jessica Blake is a writer who loves good books and good men, and realizes how difficult it is to find both.