Sunburn PreventionSunscreens The importance of sunscreen cannot be overlooked. The sunburn-preventing lotion makes it possible for most of us to stay out in the sun longer than we would with our naked skin. It is imperative to take the Magic SPF number into account when choosing a sunscreen. For example, a baby friendly sunscreen should be applied to infants and toddlers, while teenager should look for something in the 30-50 SPF range. UV Clothing UV protective clothing is a great way to limit your sun exposure. Tightly woven fabrics like denim provide the most sun protection while loose gauze like fabrics provide the least. In the same way, lighter fabrics bounce sun rays away from you while darker fabrics absorb the harmful rays. A great way to tell if a garment will provide sunburn protection is to hold the item up and see how much light comes through. The more light you see, the more UV rays are likely to hit your skin. Look for garments with a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of at least 30 so that you know you’re getting effective sunburn prevention. Hats and Sunglasses Hats and sunglasses are a great way to keep the sun off of your neck, face and head. Select wide-brimmed hats (at least 3” in diameter) that shade your face, neck and ears. When purchasing sunglasses choose a pair that blocks 100% of UV lights. Also try a wide framed pair and or a wraparound style for even more sunburn protection. Stay Away from Oil Tanning oil is a popular summertime purchase, however the product may increase sun damage. Tanning oil accelerates the production of melanin, the chemical in our bodies that affect skin color. The more melanin in the skin, the darker the skin will appear. Oil intensifies the sun’s rays, which could mean more absorption of UVA and cancer-causing UVB rays. Time of Day The intensity of the sun’s rays changes throughout the days. The strongest rays are between 10am and 4pm, so try to limit your exposure during these times. Also, be cautious of cloudy days. The UV light can pass through clouds which mean you could still get a sunburn even when the sun is not out. Use sun protection any day that you’re outside for more than 20 minutes.
Sunburn TreatmentIf you do suffer a sunburn, here are 5 remedies that should help the healing process. Ice it down Apply ice to slow the burning process. Rub an ice cube on skin or apply an ice pack. Or, for extensive body burns, add ice to a bath and soak body for 20 minutes. Lotion Use a gentle moisturizing lotion after a cool shower. Try coconut butter lotion and aloe vera lotion give off a cooling sensation after applied providing a soothing comfort for burns. Repeat to keep burned or peeling skin moist over the next few days. For added comfort, refrigerate your lotion before application. Avoid petroleum or oil-based ointments, which may trap the heat and make the burn worse. Aspirin For those who are not allergic to aspirin, you can make a sunburn treatment that will ease the pain. Simply take a few aspirin and crush them using the back of a spoon. Be sure to crush well. Add enough water to make a paste. Brush on skin and leave for about 4 hours. Rinse off will cool rag or cool shower. Avoid soap Even though you’ve been swimming all day, don’t soap up that sunburn. Many soaps can be drying which may enhance the effects of the sunburn. Instead, try apple cider vinegar or cooled-brewed tea if you must “wash”. But, for best feeling skin just rinse with cool water and try the remedies above. Drink Water Be sure to drink plenty of fluids. The time you spent in the sun drew a lot of water out of your body. Plus, your sunburned skin is in need of fluids to counteract the drying effect of the burn. Be sure to consume several glasses of water and electrolytes until your sunburn is healed.
Severe Sunburn TreatmentSome burns are simply too severe to handle with at home remedies. If you experience any of the following, contact the health care professionals at Arrowhead Health Centers.
- Purple discoloration
- Intense itching