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Coca-Cola: The Next Tanning Aid?

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Woman in the summer sun with iced beverage

Tanning horror stories in the summer involving baby oil and iodine are not unheard of, but clients may now potentially share negative experiences after sunbathing with a trending tanning aid—Coca-Cola.

Tanners are attracted to the acidic nature of the soft drink, which is believed to speed up the tanning process. In reality, the acid could exfoliate dead skin cells, leaving behind increased exposure to harmful UV rays and risk of sunburn.

Coca-Cola also contains caramel dye, which may temporarily tint the skin like iodine—but with a sticky residue.

Despite the trend's inception in the U.K. as early as last year, no clinical data supports the practice. Experts agree that any degree of tan is unhealthy for the skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people should use one ounce of sunscreen to cover vulnerable areas of the body before sun exposure, a far cry from the lack of protection that cola offers.