How to Protect Yourself from Sunburns this Summer!

sunburns

Peeling skin, redness, and pain – if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms after spending time in the sun, chances are you’re sunburnt! Sunburns develop as a result of being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the sun or artificial UV light sources. It’s important to note that sunburns can also contribute to premature aging of the skin and increase the risk of developing skin cancer. With that said, it’s important to begin taking proactive measures to protect your skin.

What is a Sunburn?

A sunburn occurs when the skin becomes red and almost raw due to excessive sun exposure. The UV light emitted by the sun is the main cause behind this phenomenon. Despite it being caused by sun rays, sunburns can occur on cloudy days too. This is because UV rays can still penetrate through the atmosphere. Additionally, certain surfaces like snow, sand, and water have the ability to reflect UV rays, posing a risk of burning the skin as well. 

Types of Sunburn:
  • First-degree
    • Damages the skin’s outer layer and usually heals on its own in a few days to a week. 
    • Symptoms include redness, peeling, or blistering. Skin feels hot or tight. There’s also pain, swelling, and tenderness.
  • Second-degree
    • Damages the dermis layer of the skin. Blisters will develop and medical interventions may be needed.
    • Symptoms include extremely red skin, blistering, swelling over a larger area, wet-looking skin, pain, and white discoloration within the burn.
  • Third-degree
    • Rare but requires emergency treatment. It also severely damages all layers of your skin, including the fat layer beneath the skin, destroying nerve endings. 
    • Symptoms include leathery-looking burns, numbness, white/dull skin color, and heat illness

You may also experience symptoms of:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Exhaustion
  • Fast breathing
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Shivers
Risk Factors:
  • Having white skin and red hair
  • Having a previous history of sunburn
  • Residing or spending time in sunny, warm, or high-altitude locations
  • Engaging in outdoor work
  • Participating in activities such as swimming or applying water or baby oil to the skin, as moist skin tends to burn more easily than dry skin
  • Combining outdoor recreation with alcohol consumption
  • Regularly exposing unprotected skin to UV light from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds
  • Taking medication that increases sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitizing medication)
How to Prevent Sunburns:
  • Avoid being exposed to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Cover up
  • Wear sunglasses when outdoors.
  • Be aware of sun-sensitizing medications and cosmetics.
  • Refrain from sun tanning and using tanning beds.
  • Apply sunscreen frequently and generously: Choose a water-resistant, broad-spectrum lip balm and sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, even on cloudy days. (Check out my Ultimatte Sun Screen or KD Lip Plumper!)
Home Remedies to Try:
  • Take a pain reliever/anti-itch drug
  • Cool the skin
  • Apply a aloe vera, thick moisturizers/lotions
  • Drink extra water 
  • Leave blisters alone
  • Refrain from using products containing ‘-caine,’ such as benzocaine. These creams have the potential to irritate the skin or trigger an allergic reaction!

To learn more about how to protect yourself, listen to my podcast here!

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