Perineum Sunning May Cause Cancer, Doctors Say

Perineum sunning is the latest health craze that has no proven benefits and may increase the risk of cancer, doctors warn.

Social media users claim that exposing their perineum, which is the area between the anus and the vulva or the scrotum, to the sunlight has a wide variety of health benefits — from better sleep and raised energy levels to even higher libido.

One TikToker swears that butt sunning, which takes between 30 seconds and 5 minutes a day, increases creativity and gives “sweet freedom” along with a nice tan.

@thesashapiton A lil spread eagle in my backyard. Heard about this from @Sadie Jane and haven’t looked back. #yonisunning #selfcare #perineum #perineumsunning #yonicare ♬ What A Diffrence A Day Makes - Dinah Washington

Proponents say it is practiced in Taoism, an ancient Chinese philosophy that promotes life at peace with one’s self and nature, which regards perineum as a gateway where energy enters and exits the body.

Generally, exposure to sunlight produces vitamin D in our skin, which plays an important role in the health of bones and muscles, helps build immunity, and prevents some diseases. However, too much of one thing is never good. Spending excessive amounts of time in the sun significantly increases the risk of developing skin cancer.

Unsurprisingly, doctors warn against tanning your private parts.

Are there benefits to perineum sunning?

Ryan Ottwell, D.O., a dermatology resident at Trinity Health Livingston Hospital, says there is no human evidence that perineum sunning has any health benefits.

The benefits could be psychological if you have a strong belief in it, says Gayle Fischer, M.D., a clinical dermatologist and professor at the University of Sydney.

Fischer tells Healthnews, “But if you are just looking for scientific facts, there are no benefits.”

The risks of perineum sunning

Unsafe and non-evidence-based health trends, such as perineum sunning, may increase the risk of skin cancers such as melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma, Ottwell says.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with one in five Americans estimated to develop the condition in their lifetime. Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, responsible for nearly 20 deaths every day.

Some who have tried perineum sunning have shared their experiences of getting sunburned. Josh Brolin, an actor who starred in the movie No Country For Old Men, has warned others not to try this trend.

“My pucker hole is crazy burned, and I was going to spend the day shopping with my family, and instead, I’m icing and using aloe and burn creams because of the severity of the pain,” Brolin wrote on Instagram back in 2019.

Fischer says the trend is especially dangerous for people already exposed to human papillomavirus (HPV) — the most common sexually transmitted infection, which affects about 40% of Americans aged 15–59.

“Cancer is triggered by carcinogens and the genital area is already exposed to HPV virus, some strains of which are oncogenic. This means susceptible people — oncogenic HPV carriers — now have two cofactors,” Fischer says.

Infection with high-risk HPV strains is the most common cause of cervical cancer, but it can also increase the risk of penile and throat cancers. The best way to prevent HPV infection is to vaccinate against the virus.

Doctors on TikTok, where perineum sunning is gaining momentum along with other questionable health trends, joined forces to warn about the dangers of exposing vulnerable parts of the body to the sun.

@lmmedicalnyc #perinealsunning #fyp #dermatologist #dermatology ♬ original sound - lmmedicalnyc

In a video, Dr. Morgan Rabach, a dermatologist, pleaded, “Please do not do this. It only takes 10 to 30 minutes of sunlight on your face to get the levels of vitamin D you need. And please remember that skin cancer can happen when the sun doesn’t shine.”


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