Summer is a great time to be outdoors. There’s nothing like basking in the warm rays of the sun. But then again, sometimes it can get to be too much as the harsh rays of the sun can cause a sunburn. Some people are more prone to it, and even a short exposure can cause some discomfort.
Why Get Sunburned?
Prolonged exposure to the sun is the usual reason why people get sunburned. This is especially true if no sun protection is used such as sunscreen, the use of hats, umbrellas and the like.
The skin turns red and tender in milder cases. After several days, flaking and peeling occurs. Other discomforts associated with it also vanish within a week or so. In more severe cases, pain may be experienced because of the more intense burning sensation. There are also instances in which it may cause blisters in the heavily affected parts of the body or resulting in loss of fluids that can lead to dehydration.
What to Do
Prevention is still the best way to go. It is better to avoid getting sunburned and that means using sun protection creams or lotions. It is recommended that even body parts that are not directly exposed to the sun should have some protection, including the scalp and the areas covered by beards or mustache.
It would also be a good idea not to go out under the heat of the sun during certain periods of time, like noontime to 3 pm because the temperature is usually at its highest then. During this time, it’s better to stay under a shaded area if outdoors. Better yet, get out of the sun as soon as possible, and cool down after by using a damp towel applied to the skin or take a cool shower.
For those using sunscreen, make sure to reapply after a few hours because its effectiveness may be diminished. Suncreen can come off with sweat or when getting into water. There are also some after-sun sprays or mists that are available that can help ease the pain of a sunburn. Avoid products that contain lidocaine (or other anesthetics). They will temporarily numb the pain, but they also tend to dehydrate the skin and will make things worse. It’s also good practice to rehydrate as well by drinking plenty of water.
What Not to Do
There are things that should also be avoided in case of a sunburn. First is to avoid applying certain items such as petroleum jelly, ice or ice packs on sunburnt skin – especially if there are blisters. Instead of alleviating the condition, this will make things worse after. If blisters form, these should not be popped or they could become infected. When the skin begins to heal and starts to peel or flake, avoid the temptation to pick it off. As much as possible, wear soft and loose clothing to avoid friction that might lead to further skin irritation.
Getting sunburnt is a miserable experience. Try to avoid it at all costs – but if you end up getting burnt, now you know how to nurse your skin back to health.