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'Deodorant challenge' is the latest craze that's hurting teens

The "deodorant challenge" is the latest way that kids are hurting themselves in an attempt to prove themselves to their peers.
/ Source: TODAY

Kids have moved on from the “eraser challenge” to what’s being dubbed as the “deodorant challenge” — but make no mistake, the injuries are just as serious, and the stunt just as worrisome.

The deodorant challenge, which has taken off among teens and preteens in the U.K., involves holding a can of aerosol deodorant just above the skin and spraying for as long as possible. The result is a series of red spots that aren't just unsightly, but also dangerous, according to Dr. Doris Day, a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in laser, cosmetic and surgical dermatology.

“This is a very scary trend, because basically these kids are committing chemical burns,” Day told TODAY. “The force of the aerosol itself and the temperature change on the skin can potentially cause second- and third-degree burns.”

Day added that it’s less the toxicity in the aerosol itself that is of concern so much as the pressure of the air that can cause both painful and permanent damage.

“This is a passing trend, something that kids do,” Day said of her read on the recent craze. “Kids try odd things. It’s more of a dare, and now with social media, these dares go more viral. But it’s not cool, because it leaves scars.”

The deodorant challenge isn't new, and previous iterations of the trend have included the eraser challenge, wherein kids rub erasers across their skin while having to say or do something, and the salt and ice challenge, where kids burn their arms with a mixture of salt and ice, essentially giving themselves frostbite.

On a recent segment on ITV, 12-year-old Kaitlyn, who displayed a litany of dark marks on her forearms, explained why she tried the deodorant challenge. “My friends started doing it,” she said. “You spray it and then it goes white and it looks really cool, so I tried it.”

Day says she is baffled by this trend in particular, because “there’s no value to it. I can see with some trends, there’s something pleasurable or some sensation kids get from trying these things. But there’s not a change in sensation. There’s nothing that makes it fun. It just hurts.”

If a parent notices his or her child with red marks from the “deodorant challenge,” Day says the best thing to do is to wash the area with lukewarm water to get any residual chemicals off, and then go see a doctor immediately.