Picture: website screenshot
First there was planking and then the Cinnamon Challenge. Yep, this year has seen some weird social media crazes – and it’s only halfway through the year.

Now a new craze has taken over the internet, and it’s not pretty. Called the Deodorant challenge, it’s taking over UK schools faster than wildfire, and parents have cause for concern.

The Independent first caught a whiff of it after a worried mom appeared on ITV’s This Morning. Schoolgirl Kaitlyn Stanley revealed how she had burned her own arm repeatedly using an aerosol deodorant because “it looks really cool”.

“My friends started doing it. You spray it and then it goes white and it looks really cool so I tried it,” the 12-year-old told presenter Rylan Clarke-Neil.

How it works

Participants are challenged to spray aerosol deodorant as close as possible to the skin for as long they can endure it. The result is skin being covered in burns which could lead to long-term damage.

Before going on to the show Kaitlyn’s mother Sara Stanley posted images of her daughter’s skin damage on Facebook and the post went viral, with many parents responding that their children too had been taking part in the challenge. The post has since been removed from Facebook.

The damage it can cause

Dr Ranj Singh, a British doctor specialising in the well-being of young children, was brought on as an expert. “What the deodorant does is cool your skin down really rapidly, and essentially you get frostbite that breaks the skin down,” he said.

“Not only does that hurt and so you get problems with pain, but it also breaks the skin barrier down, it can predispose you to infection, it can damage the pigment – and that can be long-term.”

Singh also alerted parents to the fact that the craze could increase the risk of more serious complications like skin cancer.

Other dangerous social media crazes

Duct tape challenge

This challenge went viral on YouTube in January last year and involves duct-taping participants to a pole so they can break free. One documented serious injury was reported when a 14-year-old US teen was duct-taped standing up. When he tried to break free, he hit his head on a window frame and concrete.

The duct tape challenge. Picture: YouTube screenshot


Cinnamon challenge

Doctors warned against this dangerous practice that requires someone to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon in 60 seconds without drinking water.

Salt and ice

The most recent version of the challenge requires friends to hold a salt and ice mixture against the participant’s skin. Whoever can hold the salt and ice the longest “wins”.

Swallowing a spoonful of cinnamon is not exactly anyone’s idea of fun.

Blue Whale

The latest craze taking over the Dark Net, the Blue Whale suicide challenge consists of a series of tasks assigned to players by administrators during a 50-day period, with the final one allegedly requiring the player to commit suicide. The jury is still out on if it’s fake news or not.