Summertime is quickly approaching, and we are anxious to relax on the beach or at the pool! It’s tempting to go out and lay in the sun and work on our tan. But overexposure to the sun causes a burn from ultraviolet rays and damages your skin.
Sunburns are extremely common and a natural defense against ultraviolet rays. The sun gives off three wavelengths of UV light:
- – Ultraviolet C Rays (UVC) – the highest energy of UV radiation. UVC radiation does not reach the earth’s surface because the ozone layer blocks it in the atmosphere.
- – Ultraviolet B Rays (UVB) – penetrate the first layer of skin and act on the cells that produce melanin, which results in darker skin and sunburns. The UVB rays also play the most significant role in causing skin cancers.
- – Ultraviolet A Rays (UVA) – rays can age the skin and lead to dark spots and wrinkles.
UVC rays are the strongest but don’t reach the earth’s surface. UVA and UVB rays both penetrate your skin and cause damage.
What causes sunburn?
Your body starts to make more melanin To protect itself against UVA and UVB rays. Melanin is a pigment that gives color to the hair, skin, and eyes. The increase in melanin causes you to produce a tan. However, most people do not have enough melanin to completely protect the skin from the rays, causing the burn.
Sunburned skin is a telltale sign that you’ve been outside for too long without protection. But sun damage isn’t always visible. Under the surface, UV light can alter DNA and cause your skin to age prematurely. Over time, this damage can contribute to skin cancers, including deadly melanoma.
Contrary to belief, people with darker skin tones are just as susceptible to skin cancer as those with fair skin tones. On dark skin tones, sunburns aren’t red, but there is still pain, and the skin feels hot to the touch.
How do I Protect My Skin From Sun Damage?
The best practices to protect yourself from skin damage are:
- – Cover up with a shirt
- – Use SPF 30 or higher sunscreen
- – Wear a broad-brimmed hat
- – Seek out shade
- – Wear UV sunglasses
If you spend hours in your pool chair, getting that golden tan, you’re doing more harm to your skin cells than you think. Tanning should be done gradually, with short exposure times. Not all sunburns need medical attention. If your sunburn is minor, here are some tips on how to treat it:
- – Protect your burn from further sun exposure
- – Don’t pop blisters
- – Drink plenty of water
- – Apply a cool compress for 10 mins, several times a day
- – Take a cool bath or shower
- – Use aloe vera or hydrocortisone cream to soothe the burn
- – Take an anti-inflammatory
Summertime fun is best outside! The sun is an excellent source of Vitamin D, but be careful not to overexpose yourself to its harmful rays! Apply sunscreen every two hours, and avoid the sun during peak hours (from 10 am to 3 pm).
Contact Urgent Care in Logan, Ut
Don’t hesitate to contact Chap Speth at Abundant Family Practice urgent care center if a sunburn is accompanied by extreme pain, high fever, headache, nausea, or chills. Seek medical attention if the burned skin shows signs of infection, such as increasing pain, tenderness, swelling, and yellow drainage.