Everything You Need to Know About Sunburn

Summer bodies and bronze tans often go together, but even a slight tan can put you at risk of a bad sunburn. While sunlight has definite health benefits for you, getting a sunburn can be really bad for many reasons. Aside from making you look much older, it even puts you at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.

Sunburn: What You Need to Know

Aside from the redness and blisters that come after a long day under the sun, there’s a little more about sunburns that you need to know about, like the following:

  • Sunburn isn’t always visible. The damage from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays go deeper than just your skin. It can also alter your DNA and add to the risk of melanomas in the future. 
  • Skin tones affect sunburn. Everyone’s skin can be affected by the sun. Fair skin is more sensitive to UV radiation while more pigmented skin tones are significantly less sensitive to UV. 
  • Clothes aren’t foolproof against a nasty sunburn. Even thick clothes can only provide a limited amount of protection against the sun’s UV radiation, so it’s always best to apply sunscreen when going outdoors during the day.

Treating a Sunburn

If you have a nasty case of sunburn after spending a long time out in the sun, there are a few remedies that will ease the pain:

  • Gels or creams – Gels or creams containing menthol, camphor, or aloe can alleviate the pain when applied gently to the sunburnt area of your skin.
  • Compresses – Applying cold compresses or cool water on the sunburnt areas of your skin is another way to soothe the burn.
  • Water – Drinking plenty of fluids and staying hydrated helps prevent the skin from drying out.

There are also a few steps you ccan take to prevent sunburn, such as the following:

  • Wearing the right clothes
  • Staying in the shade when it gets too hot
  • Using sunscreen

How Sunscreen Really Works

It’s always a good idea to carry around sunscreen and apply it before getting out into the sun for long periods.

This is because sunscreen contains different inorganic active ingredients like zinc oxide, which scatter ultraviolet (UV) radiation, as well as organic ingredients like oxybenzone, which absorb UV radiation and dissipate it in the air as excess heat.

There are two different types of sunscreen you can choose from:

  • Physical sunscreen – Also known as sunblock, physical sunscreen sits directly on the skin and deflects UV rays from your skin immediately after being applied.
  • Chemical sunscreen – This type of sunscreen is absorbed by your skin and takes effect between twenty and thirty minutes after application. It filters and absorbs a small part of the sun’s UV rays.