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What happens when you get sunburned?

Posted on June 27, 2017 by Jane Young | 0 comments

Yes, it is hard to resist the warm, inviting sun. Although its pretty healthy to go outside and participate in your favorite outdoor activities, you must also remember what harmful effects the sun can have on your skin.

So what really happens when you get a sunburn?

A sunburn is a skin injury caused by the sun's radiation. The degree of the damage depends on a number of factors like the amount of melanin present in the skin, or the length of time in the sun.

Melanin, a skin pigment which identifies your complexion, has an interesting relationship with UV light. Melanin absorbs and dissipates UV light. More melanin translates to a darker skin tone. This is mainly why people with a dark complexion  do not have sunburns as frequently as those with fair complexion.

What is interesting to note is that when the skin is damaged by UVA rays (which damages the skin's elastic tissue and disrupts the skin on a cellular level) vs UVB rays (which causes cumulative heating effects on the skin, leading to sunburn), it does not increase the production of melanin for protection, it just redistributes it; you end up looking tanner but without heightened UV protection. Understand too, that a dark or tan skin does not give full protection from the sun's UV rays. Melanin has nothing to do with the absorption of UVA light, the main cause of skin cancer. This is why we strongly recommend the use of a sunscreen all throughout the year.

Sunburn Prevention Tips

This is pretty easy to do: use broadband sunscreen and practice sun safety. The sad part is, a lot of people choose not to wear sunscreen, despite many research proving its protective properties. Of course, there are other ways to protect your skin, due to its convenience factor, there is nothing as effective as a broadband sunscreen.


Other ways to stay safe under the sun include:

1. Wearing protective clothing like wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and sunglasses.

2. Avoid sun exposure between 10am - 3pm.

3. Staying in the shade.

Find Relief from Sunburn by Following These Tips:

1. One of the best ways you can find relief from the discomfort and redness is to take indomethacin or aspirin. Note that indomethacin is a prescription medicine that needs a doctor's supervision. This information is for educational purposes only.

2. You may also use topical cortisone creams and apply it to the sunburn within 6 hours. Again, you need a doctor's prescription for this.

3. Within 3 minutes after towelling from a cool shower or bath, apply moisturizers generously. This will keep the skin hydrated and soothed.

4. You may also use pure aloe vera gel to soothe inflammed skin. DO NOT use aloe vera together with any anesthetic ingredient like lidocaine or benzocaine as they can cause an allergic skin rash.


We're also interested to hear how you protect yourself from the sun. Fill us in!

Posted in care for aging skin, skin care, skin care tips, skin tips


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