The natural skin shield is equivalent to about SPF 4, so sunburn can easily occur if we expose ourselves to the beach without sun protection or if we spend time outdoors during a time when the amount and intensity of UVA and UVB rays are maximum. “When we are excessively exposed to ultraviolet rays, the skin increases its production of melanin, a pigment located in the upper layer of the skin (epidermis). Intensified melanin production is the body’s way of protecting the deep layers of the skin, while bronze, once formed, acts as a shield against ultraviolet light. However, the amount of melanin produced for protection is determined by genetics, so that people with light skin produce less melanin and are therefore more susceptible to sunburn, “said dermatologist Laurenţiu Vladau.
Of course, the best thing we can do is to prevent sunburn, to avoid skin peeling, redness and stinging, the appearance of blisters on the spot, as well as premature skin aging and long-term cancer. If the skin still burns, it is advisable to follow a few simple rules, necessary to minimize the negative effects.
The first steps in treating sunburn
A cold compress on sunburned skin is useful for relieving the pain caused by sunburn. A cold shower will also bring a much-desired cooling sensation, and lavender or chamomile essential oil added to the bath water will help relieve stinging. “Scented soaps or cosmetics should be avoided because they tend to dry out even already dry and sunburned skin. Carefully dab the skin with a clean towel and do not wipe because we risk irritating it even more. Lotions containing aloe vera, known for its moisturizing and calming effect, have beneficial effects in sunburn. Moreover, some aloe products also contain lidocaine, an anesthetic that can help relieve the pain caused by sunburn. Aloe vera is also a good moisturizer for exfoliating skin, “said the dermatologist.
It is very important to drink as much water as possible, especially since replacing lost body fluids will help the skin to heal faster. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation and can be used directly on the skin or as a dietary supplement.
Vesicles, a sign of the severity of sunburn
The blisters that appear are a sign of a severe sunburn. It is best to cover them to prevent them from breaking, which could be very dangerous as they could trigger infections. The “roof” of the bladder is, in fact, the epidermis, the superficial layer of the skin. “The bladder is an accumulation of fluid between the epidermis and dermis caused by the dilation and permeability of blood vessels in the skin due to high external temperature. Those with light skin are more likely to develop blisters with sunburn, as opposed to those with darker pigmentation. These blisters can appear anywhere on the body and sometimes it can take several days for them to appear on the surface “, explains the doctor.
If you are taking medicines that make your skin more sensitive to the sun such as tetracyclines, thiazides, sulfonamides, phenothiazines, oral contraceptives, diuretics, medicines for diabetes, contact your doctor to see if they can be replaced to avoid sunburn. Do not stop taking any prescribed medicine without consulting your doctor!
It is recommended to avoid sun exposure until sunburn fades; UV exposure would only make things worse. If blisters appear on a large area of the body, accompanied by fever and chills, dizziness and confusion, call for help.
Even if the skin heals, the sunburns are only temporary, the negative effects can be felt in the long run. Repeated episodes of sunburn pose a substantial risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging. Thus, the best remedy remains their prevention. Always use high-factor sunscreen over 30, wear protective clothing and sunglasses, and avoid direct exposure to ultraviolet light.