Sunburn is when the skin becomes inflamed by excessive exposure to sunlight. Getting sun burnt increases your chances of getting skin cancer and premature aging. Even if you are dark skinned you are at risk as skin cancer can affect everyone. Your reddened skin will heal within a few days but the damage can last a lifetime, if it is accompanied by blisters, the sunburn is quite severe and rather painful, you will also lose a few layers of skin through peeling. No matter what every time you get sun burnt it will cause skin damage. Symptoms of sunburn include:
Pink or red colour on the skin,
Pain and irritation of the eyes associated with overexposure to UV rays from sunlight or other sources
There are two types of ultraviolet radiation which the sun has the first is UVA radiation which generally only tans skins, but it is also partly responsible for premature aging and wrinkling. UVB rays cause sunburn and even skin cancer. Sunlight that is reflected off sand, water or snow can also burn you. There are also certain drugs that can intensify the harmful effects of UV radiation.
To ease the itchiness apply calamine lotion or a cold compress, take a pain killer and have a cool bath or shower to help relieve the skin. Drink plenty of water and try to avoid alcohol. As soon as your skin peels or the blisters break, remove the dried skin gently and apply an antiseptic ointment to the skin beneath. If you are feeling nauseous or feverish drink plenty of fluids and see your doctor immediately.
Limiting your exposure to direct sunlight, especially between 10am and 3pm is the best way to prevent sunburn. Also take a look at your shadow and if it is shorter then your height stay out of the sun. Always wear a sunscreen that is suitable for your skin type and does not let dangerous UV rays through. You should apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside as this will allow time for the sunscreen to dry on your skin and form an effective barrier and always reapply it after exercising or swimming. Wear a hat and UV protective swim wear and shirts for extra protection.
When to seek further professional advice
If your sunburn blisters are accompanied by fever, chills or nausea. If you have been severely sun burnt you will need professional care to limit the risk of infection and prevent dehydration. If your eyes are extremely painful and gritty, you should have them examined by an ophthalmologist to determine whether the corneas are damaged.
There are a number of herbal lotions, poultices and compresses that contain calendula, which helps reduce inflammation. A lotion containing Aloe is excellent for relieving sunburn and Echinacea can be used on exposed new skin after it has blistered or peeled, to help prevent infection. Lavender essential oil can be diluted in a carrier oil and used to massage into tender skin. Homeopaths recommend taking cantharis orally every 3-4 hours for up to 2 days as helps relieve pain and heal blisters.
You can only treat the symptoms of sunburn as there are no treatments that can undo the damage that is caused by prolonged sun exposure. There are not many cases of sunburn that need medical care, however if the burn is very painful or widespread your doctor may prescribe oral corticosteroids to help relieve the discomfort. Treatment for people with extremely severe cases of sunburn associated with extensive blistering, fever or dehydration need plenty of bed rest and even hospitalization.
The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment.