In The Beauty Spotlight: Sunburn

Have questions about Sunburn and want to understand it better? Well, we’ve got you covered! While some people like to soak under the sun, prolonged exposure to the sun can have harmful consequences. That’s why sunburn is under our beauty microscope this week – scroll down to read more about it and find out how to prevent and treat it:

What Exactly Is Sunburn?

Sunburn is red, hot and sore skin caused by extreme sun exposure. It may result in skin that will flake and peel after a few days. The sun gives off three wavelengths of ultraviolet light: UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC light doesn’t reach the Earth’s surface, but the other two types of ultraviolet light not only reach your beach towel, but they penetrate your skin! Skin damage is caused by both UVA and UVB rays and in extreme cases, can result in skin cancer. Sun damage isn’t always visible; under the surface, ultraviolet light can alter your DNA, prematurely ageing your skin. Over time, DNA damage can contribute to skin cancers, including the deadly melanoma. There are certain factors that contribute to how extreme your sunburn will be: your skin type, sun intensity and how long you were exposed to the sun.

Signs That You Have A Sunburn

When you are sunburnt, your skin turns red and is sensitive to touch. If the burn is severe, you can develop swelling and sunburn blisters. You may even feel like you have the flu – feverish, with chills, nausea, headache, and weakness. A few days later, your skin will start peeling and itching as your body tries to rid itself of sun-damaged cells.

How To Relieve Your Sunburn

DO:

Cool your skin with a cold shower, bath or ice pack.

Slather on a fragrance-free moisturiser.

Apply an after- sun cream or spray. You can even use aloe vera.

Drink plenty of water to cool down and prevent dehydration.

Take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for any pain.

Cover sunburnt skin from direct sunlight until skin has fully healed.

DON’T

Use petroleum jelly on sunburnt skin.

Try to pop any blisters.

Scratch or try to remove peeling skin.

Wear tight-fitting clothes over sunburnt skin.

Apply topical antibiotics.

Prevention Methods

Timing: The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you can’t stay indoors during that time period, stick to shady spots or wear sun protective clothing such as a long-brimmed hat, long sleeved pants and shirts, as well as UV blocking sunglasses. 

Apply SPF: Cover all areas of  your skin liberally with at least 1 ounce of broad-spectrum sunscreen. That means sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Follow these tips for applying sunscreen effectively:

  1. Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before you go outside.
  2. Use sunscreen even on relatively less sunny days because UV rays can penetrate clouds.
  3. Reapply sunscreen every two hours — or more often if you’re sweating heavily or swimming.
  4. Don’t skip this step! It’s the most important one in order to protect your skin.

In the case of blistering accompanied by symptoms such as severe pain, high fever or nausea, it’s important to have a doctor or dermatologist take a look to rule out sun poisoning or heat stroke! 

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