So, how many of us are still suffering the effects? No, we’re not talking hangovers today; we’re talking about red skin that is dry and on fire, about blisters and nausea and not being able to get comfortable either with clothes or without. Yes folks, we’re in sunburn territory.
The best remedy for a sunburn is to not get one to begin with. Protecting your skin will not only prevent the discomfort of a burn, but also will guard against eye damage, dry wrinkled skin, liver spots, actinic keratoses and shield you from debilitating or life-threatening cancers.
Read the warning labels of your drugs. Often prescription medicines can heighten sensitivity to sun exposure and cause dreadful side effects.
People with fair skin are more susceptible to ultraviolet exposure than those with darker skins, but everyone is at risk. The sun’s energy can penetrate any skin type and damage the DNA of the skin cells.
The risk isn’t only on a sunny day. About 90 percent of UV rays can pass through clouds. Those of you who ski can attest to the affects of the reflection off snow and ice. Boaters will talk about the reflection off the water, which can burn you as severely as direct sunlight.
We used to think a tan looked healthy. But the truth is the damage that can occur cannot be reversed. Despite the massive amounts of anti-aging serums on the market today, they can’t change the fact that up to 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun. Those are what we call wrinkles, you know.
The statistics about carcinomas is frightening. According to The Mayo Clinic, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. and each year there are more new cases than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostrate, lung and colon. Over the past 31 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
But, of course, we don’t want to stay out of the sun, so we’ll just apply some sunscreen. Right? Sure. But choose one carefully and use it properly. There is some controversy about ingredients. Talk to your pharmacist before spending your money on over-the-counter lotions that may be ineffectual or dangerous. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends 30 or more, and Federal guidelines just capped the highest level at the new 50+ rating.
Apply at least one ounce (2 tablespoons)
What else can you do? Wear a broad-brimmed hat. Wear sunglasses that block 99 or 100 percent of UV rays. Try to stay in the shade whenever possible. Avoid exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Wear tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs.
And in the end, when you are sunburned, be careful about infections. Take ibuprofen or aspirin for the discomfort. (Do not administer aspirin to children under the age of 2 or any child recovering from chickenpox or the flu.) Apply a cold wet towel to the affected area or take a cool bath or shower. Carefully smooth on aloe vera lotion or hydrocortisone cream to decrease pain and speed healing.
Do not break blisters if they occur. If they break on their own apply an antibacterial cream. If there’s any sign of infection contact your health professional. Avoid topical “-caine” products, such as benzocaine as it can irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction.
Drink plenty of liquids like water or sports drinks. Prevent dehydration. Although a beer may sound good, alcohol will not replenish vital fluids.
When you start to peel, treat the skin gently. Although it doesn’t look appealing, it’s just your body getting rid of the damaged skin. Apply moisturizing creams liberally and continuously. And most importantly, try to remember how uncomfortable you are so you won’t do it again.
Having a regular and thorough skin screening is still absolutely necessary in preventing small lesions and precancerous growths from developing into something far worse. For more information or to schedule a skin screening in the Naperville, Joliet, Plainfield, or Chicago areas, please visit our website and contact us through our form.
# # #
At Burt & Will Plastic Surgery and Laser Centre, Dr. Burt, Dr. Will, and their personable staff are devoted to making you feel welcome, comfortable, and secure with your decision to have plastic surgery. At our cosmetic surgery practices in Plainfield and Morris we serve the entire Naperville, Joliet and Chicago area, Dr. Tripti Burt and Dr. Neena Will are experienced providers of facial cosmetic surgery, body contouring, breast augmentation, laser skin care treatments, and offer a full range of Medspa services. Imagine having the body you’ve always wanted, or being able to enhance your facial features for a natural looking, rejuvenated appearance. We as women understand that your body is precious to you, so we promise to provide only the finest care and surgical enhancements.