How To Avoid, Treat and Heal Sunburn

How To Avoid, Treat and Heal Sunburn

Sunburn. Everyone has been there and we all have that one friend that will tell you 'I never burn!' I have several of them. Often my ethnic friends will tell me that only light coloured skin types suffer sunburn and that they can lie out for hours on end without suffering the damaging burn. This of course is not true. Whilst some skins are more prone to damage than others, it's important that everyone “ no matter what ethnicity or skin colour “ follows the correct steps to avoid irreversible damage.

The number one key lesson to be learnt here is that sunburn is permanent. Whilst it's possible to relieve the symptoms of sunburn, there is no known cure for reversing the damage caused to skin when burning occurs.

How to spot it

The first sign of sunburn is red, hot and uncomfortable skin. It often follows with skin peeling and in severe cases blisters can form. The after effects can be pigmentation in the form of freckles, age spots and melasma. In some cases, sunburn can lead to crusty lesions known as actinic keratosis, which have the possibility of developing into skin cancer.

How to avoid it

I have read so many theories on how to avoid sunburn over the years and most are completely untrue. The most horrifying is the use of sun beds prior to a holiday. Many patients believe that creating a 'base tan' on the skin will protect them from burning whilst on vacation. The use of a sun bed is one of the quickest and ways to cause severe skin damage. Step away from the sun bed!

The only way to truly reduce the risk of sunburn is to wear a clinically proven sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) and avoid excessive sun exposure. However these methods are not fool proof. Whilst wearing a high SPF significantly reduces the risk of burning, it must be reapplied every 2 hours to achieve maximum efficiency.

It is very common for areas of the body to be missed during suncream application. This opens up the risk of burning in commonly missed areas such as ears, tips of feet and the scalp. Wearing a hat when outside can help prevent exposure to UV rays on the face, scalp and hair line.

How to treat it

If sunburn does occur, acting quickly is vital to reducing the discomfort experienced. Even though the damage may be irreversible, the symptoms can be eased.

Go indoors “ the first thing to do is to remove yourself from direct exposure and further damage. Spend the rest of the day indoors in a cool, air conditioned room where possible. If there is no suitable indoor space, head straight for the shade.

Apply aftersun “ using a topical anti inflammatory like an aftersun can reduce the burning sensation and cool the skin to avoid irritation and in some cases prevent peeling and blistering. Applying a cool pack is also a good idea if no aftersun is available. Jumping in a cool shower or bath will help to constrict the vessels, therefore reducing redness.

Rehydrate “ sunburn and excessive sun exposure often goes hand in hand with dehydration. When the skin burns you are affectively dehydrating the body. This means the only solution is to rehydrate in every way possible. Drinking lots of water over the next 24-48 hours is vital.

Moisturise “ keeping skin moisturised after sunburn is important to prevent peeling. If peeling has already occurred, moisturising the skin will reduce the appearances of the dreaded shed. Moisturisers free from perfumes and scents are recommended to reduce the chance of further irritation. Hydrating lotions, sprays and aloe vera gel are holiday bag essentials!

Bandage up “ if the sunburn is severe then blisters may form even after the initial exposure. It's important to treat blisters correctly to avoid infection. Extra care should be taken to prevent blisters from bursting and under no circumstances should they be popped or picked at. Applying a bandage or gauze loosely over the affected area will prevent the skin from rubbing on clothing.Here's our top product picks for preventing, cooling & soothing sunburn

Mesoestetic Mesoprotech Sun Protective Body Lotion - This high factor body emulsion with a silky and easily absorbed texture and high spreadability for effortless, high quality sun protection. Making sun protection a joy to apply!The Mesoprotech technology protects skin against UVB and UVA radiation as well as visible light (HEV) and infrared radiation (IR), which can lead to premature ageing.

Ultrasun After Sun & Post Laser Gel - This fast-absorbing and non-greasy soothing gel repairs sensitized skin after sun exposure and laser treatments. The formula is gentle enough to be used on post-procedure skin and works to restore loss of moisture and assist skin in repairing and healing.Ultrasun After Sun & Post Laser Gel, also protects skin against environmental damage thanks to Portulaca Oleracea extract. This antioxidant ingredient is a natural source of vitamins A, C and E as well as containing the co-enzyme Q10.

EVY After Sun Mousse - This hypoallergenic, long-lasting formula offers intense hydration, reinforces skin's natural defenses as the cooling and soothing ingredients nourish sunburned or irritated skin with intense hydration for up to 12 hours.Enriched with Vitamins C and E, collagen and silk extracts for increased skin repair after sun exposure. EVY After Sun Mousse penetrates throughout the entire top layer of the skin for increase hydration, leaving skin feeling soothed and cooled.

Long term affects of sunburn such as pigmentation and dark spots can be treated in clinic. For further information please speak to our skin specialists or call 0113 282 3300.

Written for you by: Emily, Face the Future

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