Summer has arrived, which means increased exposure to the sun. Consequently, sun protection becomes crucial. As our skin is our largest organ, it deserves careful treatment. This blog post offers an initial summary of sunburn and explores tips for its treatment and prevention.
Overview of Sunburn
Sunburn represents the inflammatory response of the skin's outermost layer to damage caused by the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sunburn can lead to redness, swelling, pain, and occasionally, blisters on the skin. Post-sunburn, your skin may begin to peel. This is an indicator that your body is eliminating damaged cells. Avoid peeling the skin yourself; instead, allow it to shed naturally.
How to Treat a Sunburn?
1. Cool It Down Swiftly
If you have water available, swiftly cool your skin by immersing it in the water for a few seconds to avoid prolonged exposure. Immediately cover the skin with a towel or clothing and stay out of the sun. You may continue with cold compresses using ice water, but refrain from applying ice directly to the sunburn. Another option is taking a short, cold shower to avoid skin dryness, and using mild soaps to prevent additional skin irritation.
2. Apply Moisturizing Lotion
When the skin is still damp, gently apply a mild moisturizing lotion to the sunburned skin. Storing lotion in the refrigerator before use can enhance its soothing effect. Maintain usage of a moisturizing lotion for the next few days to keep sunburned or peeling skin hydrated. Opt for an alcohol-free moisturizing lotion.
3. Minimize Inflammation
At the first indication of sunburn, take NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to alleviate discomfort and inflammation. Furthermore, wear loose, soft, and breathable clothing to prevent further skin irritation, and avoid sun exposure until the sunburn heals.
4. Maintain Hydration
Sunburn can cause fluid to accumulate on the skin's surface, resulting in dehydration. Hence, it's important to drink ample water or sports drinks to stay hydrated during skin healing.
How Can You Prevent Sunburn?
1. Use Sunscreen
Select a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF range of 30 – 50 to shield against both UVA and UVB rays. ZO Skin Health Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen with SPF 50, a lightweight, non-irritating mineral sunscreen, provides daily multi-defense protection from UVA, UVB, and HEV light while soothing the skin and minimizing irritation.
Another choice could be EltaMD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 Tinted, a chemical-free mineral sunscreen with added antioxidants. It not only ensures UVA/UVB protection but also resists water, humidity, and perspiration.
When applying sunscreen, consider these guidelines:
- Apply sunscreen approximately 30 minutes before venturing outside.
- Use sunscreen even on overcast days, as UV rays can penetrate clouds.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or more frequently if sweating heavily or swimming.
2. Wear Sun Protection Clothing
If planning to stay outdoors, ensure to wear sun-protective clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved jacket, pants, and UV-blocking sunglasses, to limit excessive sun exposure.
3. Limit Exposure During Peak Sun Hours
The sun's rays are most potent between 10am and 4pm. Avoid sun exposure during these hours and aim to schedule outdoor activities outside this timeframe. If you must be outdoors during peak hours, stay shaded as much as possible.
While sunburn is detrimental, it is completely treatable and preventable. Stay sunsafe and have a wonderful summer!