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Skin Care

Mastering Sunburn Treatment and Prevention for Healthy, Youthful Skin

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Sunburn happens when your skin absorbs too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds. UV radiation damages the DNA in your skin cells, leading to inflammation, redness, and pain.

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Photo | pexels

It’s important to note that sunburn can occur even on cloudy days or in winter when UV rays penetrate through clouds and reflect off snow.

Signs and Symptoms of Sunburn

Recognizing the signs of sunburn early can help you take action to relieve discomfort and prevent further damage.

  • Symptoms include:
  • Redness and warmth to the touch
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Blistering in severe cases
  • Peeling of the skin as it heals

Immediate Remedies for Soothing Sunburn

When you notice sunburn, immediate relief is crucial.

Here are some simple remedies to soothe sunburned skin:

Cool Compresses

Apply a cool, damp cloth or take a cool bath to reduce heat and inflammation.

Aloe Vera Gel

Apply pure aloe vera gel to the affected areas. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties and helps hydrate the skin.

Hydrating Lotions

Use moisturizing lotions that contain ingredients like shea butter or ceramides to keep your skin hydrated.

Read More: Beyond Sunburn: 5 Surprising Ways Sunscreen Can Improve Your Health

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Avoid Harsh Products

Skip harsh soaps or lotions with alcohol, as they can further dry out and irritate your sunburned skin.

Over-the-Counter Treatments and Medications

For more severe sunburn symptoms, over-the-counter treatments can provide relief:

  • Pain Relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Hydrocortisone Cream: A 1% hydrocortisone cream can calm redness and itching. Use it sparingly and only as directed.

Home Remedies for Sunburn Relief

If you prefer natural remedies, consider these options:

  • Oatmeal Bath: Add colloidal oatmeal to lukewarm bathwater to soothe sunburned skin.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Dilute apple cider vinegar with water and apply it to sunburned skin to relieve pain and itching.
  • Cold Milk Compress: Soak a cloth in cold milk and apply it to sunburned areas for a calming effect.

Tips for Preventing Sunburn

Preventing sunburn is key to maintaining healthy skin. Here’s how you can protect yourself:

  • Use Sunscreen: Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, and reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.
  • Seek Shade: Limit your time in direct sunlight, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest.
  • Wear Protective Clothing: Cover up with hats, sunglasses, and lightweight clothing that shields your skin from UV rays.
  • Avoid Tanning Beds: They emit harmful UV radiation that can cause skin damage and increase your risk of skin cancer.

Importance of Sunscreen and How to Use It Correctly

Sunscreen is your best defence against sunburn and skin damage.

Follow these tips for effective protection:

  • Choose the Right SPF: Select a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher that offers broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
  • Apply Generously: Use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin, including your face, ears, neck, and any other areas not covered by clothing.
  • Reapply Often: Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or more frequently if you’re sweating or swimming.
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When to Seek Medical Help for Severe Sunburn

While most sunburns can be treated at home, severe cases may require medical attention. Seek medical help if you experience:

  • Severe blistering over a large area
  • High fever and chills
  • Extreme pain that doesn’t improve with home treatment
  • Signs of dehydration, such as dizziness or confusion

Long-Term Effects of Sunburn and Skin Protection

Chronic sun exposure and repeated sunburns can lead to long-term skin damage, including premature ageing (wrinkles, age spots) and an increased risk of skin cancer.

Protect your skin by:

  • Regular Skin Checks: Monitor your skin for any changes in moles or new growths, and see a dermatologist if you notice anything suspicious.
  • Year-Round Sun Protection: Practice sun safety every day, not just in summer or on sunny days. UV rays can still reach your skin on cloudy or cool days.
  • Educate Yourself: Stay informed about sun protection guidelines and share them with your family and friends to help them stay safe too.

Conclusion

Preventing sunburn is not only about avoiding discomfort—it’s about protecting your skin’s health and appearance. By following these tips and being proactive about sun protection, you can enjoy outdoor activities while keeping your skin healthy and youthful.

Remember, sunscreen is your shield against sunburn and skin damage, so make it a part of your daily routine, no matter the season.

Photo | GETTY

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Written By

Mariam Awolola Adebukola is contributor on GlamCityz and a creative writer adept at crafting engaging content that embodies brand voices, creating memorable experiences for readers. She thrives in translating brand identities into compelling narratives, fueled by a passion for connection and collaboration.

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