It may surprise some people to know that you can get sunburnt anytime you’re exposed to the sun. Even if the day is overcast or the air isn’t stifling hot, you can still feel the unpleasant effects of sunburn. Nobody likes being sunburnt, and there are many sunburn ‘hacks’ out there to reduce pain, peeling or redness, but not all of them work. Lucy Kuper is the Biologi Managing Director and a Dermal Specialist, and she knows the best ways to handle sunburn.
“Although a little bit of sun exposure and Vitamin D is good for you, always remember that the sun is not your skin’s friend,” says Lucy. “It only takes a few minutes in the sun for harmful UV rays to start penetrating the skin and damage the deeper layers, which can contribute to early signs of ageing, pigmentation, thinning of the skin and skin cancer.”
“When it comes to sun exposure, prevention is always better than cure, however it’s likely that we’ve all been caught out at least once in our lifetime,” says Lucy. “The results of over exposure to the run is redness, tightness and loss of moisture, not to mention painful to touch and feeling overheated. Unfortunately peeling of the skin can sometimes be inevitable – it’s the reaction your body is taking to try and get rid of the damaged skin cells, causing them to self-destruct and make way for new cells.”
STEP #1 STAY OUT OF THE SUN
“If you do find yourself with sunburn, the first step is to stay out of the sun,” says Luct. “Sunburn is the skin’s response to UV exposure, where the skin cells produce a melanin pigment and skin thickens in an attempt to stop further UV rays penetrating the surface. As a first step avoid exposure to further rays! If you do go out in the sun again, you’re at a risk of further damaging the DNA of the cells which can lead to things like premature ageing and cancer.”
STEP #2 HAVE A COLD SHOWER OR BATH
Lucy says that taking a cold shower will not only cool your body temperature down, but it will help you retain moisture in your skin cells naturally. Lucy recommends avoiding hot showers as they can sap cells of their natural oils which causes dry skin.
“If your skin is blistered up and peeling, perhaps try a bath as the pressure from a shower can pop blisters or trigger peeling. Once out of the shower, try to continue to cool down your sunburn with cold compresses. Use ice water to cool it down, but don’t apply ice directly on the burn.”
STEP #3 MOISTURISE
Lucy suggests applying a serum or moisturiser to the skin to help rehydrate and prevent further drying, but be sure to use a gentle moisturiser or serum and avoid petroleum or oil-based formulas which can trap the heat and make the burn feel worse.
STEP #4 INCREASE FLUIDS
“Sunburn can dehydrate your body as it draws fluid away from the skin’s surface, so besides applying hydration to the outside, you must also replenish the inside. Drink extra water and consider also drinking a sports drink to replenish electrolytes.”
STEP #5 PROTECT YOURSELF
“Prevention is always better than cure so be sure to protect yourself from sunburn again. Sunburn is only temporary but ongoing protection of your skin from the sun is essential. Be sure to take daily measures to protect your skin from further damage, regardless of how much exposure to the sun you are expecting to have. This means applying an SPF daily and re-applying prior to going out in the sun.”
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