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People are getting sunburns on purpose — just for the 'art'

by Randee Dawn /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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Remember that Chicago Tribune essay that went viral and advised everyone to "wear sunscreen"? This is not what that writer meant.

According to a story in the British tabloid The Daily Mirror (and supported by images on social media), people are now selectively applying the sunscreen on parts of their bodies and creating designs from the exposed areas. Then it's being called art.

Accidental tan lines and beachgoers pranked by friends who write words on their backs in sunscreen are familiar sights on the Internet. And even celebrities aren't immune from bad burns; Kim Kardashian fell victim to sunburn in 2009.

MORE: What's the best sunscreen? Consumer Reports has the answer

But these intentional "designs," often created with stencils that cover parts of the body while the rest tans or burns, are potentially dangerous.

(Note, while we don't doubt there are some people out there who will do this, the story has the whiff of the unbelievable as a trend — and that much-linked-to image of a bronzed woman with crisscrossed lines seen above in Diesel's tweet has been around since at least 2013.)

The fact is that people who deliberately or accidentally let themselves burn are asking for trouble: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., with 65,647 people diagnosed with melanomas of the skin in 2011 alone (9,128 of them died from it), according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most cases are entirely preventable.

MORE: How to protect yourself from melanoma

That's probably more of the message Hugh Jackman would like to get out; he's been operated on multiple times in the past two years for skin cancer on his nose. "My generation, I had the deal in my head that if you burned enough to peel twice, full body, you were safe for the summer," he told the LA Times in 2013. "I will never let that happen again."

Everybody, after all, is free to wear sunscreen (as Jackman's fellow Aussie, director Baz Lurhmann told us).

Follow Randee Dawn on Google+ and Twitter.

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