Happy Lunar New Year!

Everyone loves a suntan but we haven’t seen people taking it further than this TikTok trend: perineum sunning.

For the uninitiated, this is a routine where you lift up your legs outdoors while butt-naked, in order to sun the region between the genital area and the anus.

Yes, you read that right.

How did perineum sunning come about?

Perineum sunning isn’t exactly new. In fact, it’s said to be an ancient Taoist practice that originated in the Far East.

According to this practice, the perineum is the “Gate of Life and Death” where energy enters and exits the body. Scientifically, this area hosts many blood vessels and nerves that provide nutrition to the genitals and body, mainly the vitamin D.

According to practitioners, exposing the perineum to the sun for 30 seconds is equivalent to being in the sun for the whole day, and it has the additional benefit of “grounding and connecting you to Earth”.

Dr Stephen T. Chang, founder of Qi Institute and an advocate of the practice, claims that the sunning the perineum has therapeutic benefits in his book The Tao of Sexology.


But the practice remained relatively obscure until it was shared by an influencer, @metaphysicalmeagan, in a post where she stated that since sunlight has excellent germicidal qualities, it keeps the anal and genital areas healthy and free of germs, making this an excellent treatment for haemorrhoids.

This practice was popularised by the same influencer via social media in 2019 as a method of self-care and the trend went viral quickly.

A study by JMIR Dermatology, which warned against the practice, noted that it only took a day for it to become trendy as more celebrities and influencers picking it up after the first social media post.

The practice is now making its rounds on Tiktok.

How is perineum sunning done?

perineum sunning

Photo credit: @franklee_fo / Tiktok

According to those who swear by it, it is best done without clothes and while laying down in a “happy baby” yoga pose.

An alternative way to practise it will be to have their backs exposed to the sun, while lifting up the butt.

While most would practise it in a private space, there are celebrities and influencers who prefer to go out to the open, such as on the mountains or jungle to balance their “qi”.

What are doctors saying about this?

perineum sunning trend on instagram

@dremiliaslamat / Instagram

If you’re thinking of trying perineum sunning, we’d suggest that you put aside that thought.

Doctors have been putting out studies and even social media posts warning against it, most saying that there’s no real research that supports the benefits that practitioners claim perineum sunning have.

Dr. David. E. Bank, founder and director of Mount Kisco’s The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery advised against it saying, “It’s actually dangerous. This skin is particularly sensitive.”

On another note, Mary Jane Minkin, a practicing gynaecologist and tutor at Yale School of Medicine, adds that the anal area houses billions of bacteria and that no amount of sunlight will kill them. In fact, there is no reason to do it anyway since we all live in good harmony with our microbiome.

She also mentioned that it is risky since exposing a delicate area could cause a myriad of issues including an infection since the perineum has the most delicate tissue. For starters, since UV rays can suppress the immune system, it increases the chances of contracting a herpes simplex virus (HSV).

The researchers of the JMIR Dermatology study also mentioned that skin exposure of the perineum area can increase the risk of cell carcinoma as well as melanoma, both are types of skin cancers.

And if the melanoma occur in a less visible area, you are prone to have a worse prognosis, which is why this practice should be avoided at all cost.

These points are supported by dermatologist Dr Dustin Portela, who is also a Tiktok influencer who provides useful skin advice on the platform.

He added that, naturally, the perineum area does not need sun in the first place since we stand right side up.

Here’s what Dr. Dustin has to say about sunning the rear area.

@drdustinportela

#stitch with @paulylong you shouldn’t be intentionally sunning anything, let alone the place where the sun don’t shine #perineumsunning #stupidideas #doctor #react #greenscreen

♬ original sound – Dr. Dustin Portela

Alternative ways to get that energy and vitamin D boost

Meditation & Yoga

Instead of facing your private area to the sun, meditation can help stabilise blood pressure, while lowering chances of insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

As meditation and yoga are linked, in addition to the above benefits, yoga helps to work on body-and-mind connection. It is said to help with digestion, assist in better sleep, and increase self-esteem.

Get enough sleep

Being well-rested can enhance your mood and improve your immune system.

Supplements

An easy way to get an adequate dose of vitamin D is to take supplements. These can be easily found in your nearest pharmacy.

But as with any supplements you take, always consult a medical practitioner if you’re concerned about what you put into your body.