Your Family Care Tips for Sun Exposure
Summertime is quickly approaching, and many are looking forward to finally relaxing 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 pretty common and the body’s natural defense against ultraviolet light rays. There are three different wavelengths of UV light from the sun:
- Ultraviolet C Rays (UVC) – the highest energy of UV radiation but 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.
- 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 makes 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, many people don’t have enough melanin to protect the skin thoroughly, 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.
What is the best form of sun protection?
Your family doctor‘s recommendations to protect yourself from skin damage are:
- Cover up
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30+
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat
- Seek out shade
- Wear UV sunglasses
Spending hours getting that golden tan is doing more harm to your skin cells than you think. If a golden tan is that important to you, it should be done gradually, with short exposure times.
Some sunburns will need medical attention. But if your sunburn is minor, here are some tips on how to treat it at home:
- Protect skin from further sun exposure
- Don’t pop blisters
- Drink plenty of liquids
- Apply a cool compress 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 isn’t all that bad, 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).
The sun is an excellent source of Vitamin D, improves sleep, reduces stress, fights depression, and strengthens your immune system.
Contact Our Family Care Center in Streamwood
Don’t hesitate to contact EPIC Urgent and Family Care center if your sunburn is accompanied by extreme pain, fever, headache, or nausea. Seek medical attention from your family doctor if the burned skin shows signs of infection.