Sun Kissed Skin vs. Sunburn: How to Treat
Where “feeling the burn” is a great sign if you’re pumping iron at the gym, they aren’t however the words you want to hear if you’ve been out in the bright hot sun all day! Whether you tan like a seasoned pro or you have to ease your way into your summertime glow; when it comes to fun in the sun the first thought of concern should be how to prevent yourself from getting too much sun.
The sun’s rays are typically the strongest during the hours of 10:00am-4:00pm, however this does not mean you are protected from the sun’s rays outside of that time frame. An SPF of 30 or above is recommended by dermatologist which is said to block 97% of the suns UVB rays. Remember, your skin will not always turn red immediately as you are getting burned, you can be burning and the painful, red skin won’t show up until hours after you are already back inside. It is highly encouraged to reapply sunscreen every two hours, maybe even more often if you are in and out of water, and not just “eyeball” if you are turning pink yet.
As much as we chase after that sun kissed skin for summer, there are some serious risks from getting unprotected sun exposure to consider when heading out to get your tan on. Too much exposure to UVA rays can damage the skin cells which potentially can lead to skin cancer such as melanoma. Heat rash can occur in humid climates which cause the pores of the skin to get clogged producing red bumps on the skins surface. UV rays can cause the skin to age prematurely creating lost elasticity which results in wrinkles and dark spots. Sunburn and dehydration are among the first symptoms of too much sun exposure, so be sure to have sunblock on hand and drink plenty of water when you know you’re going to be in the sun.
While Vitamin D is a natural mood booster, overall there are no significant health benefits to long periods of exposure to the sun. Here are some tips to keep your skin protected from harmful rays as you enjoy long summer days and chase after the perfect sun kissed glow!
- Apply daily sunscreen to your face and regularly exposed skin, SPF of 30 or higher is recommended
- Wear clothing with UV and sun protection if you are going to be exposed for long periods
- Find a cute hat for sun protection and rock it when you are out having fun in the sun
So you take all these precautions to protect yourself from a sunburn, but you still find your skin red and tender, what should you do now? Here are several recommended ways to get rid of your sunburn fast and get relief for your itchy, peeling skin.
- Cold apple cider vinegar compresses on to sunburned skin
- All natural aloe vera is the best salve to apply to a burn (make sure there is no alcohol included in the mixtures that claim to be “cooling” as that will dry out your skin worse)
- Drink more water than normal to counteract the dehydration caused from your sunburn
- Coconut oil for sunburns can help to replenish moisture and keep your skin from peeling
There are several home remedies for sunburns that you can try, but if none of these help we recommend making an appointment with your primary care provider. (Don’t have a primary care provider? Check out our Internal Medicine Team!