How to Clear Sunburn FastCreated on Updated on
How to Clear Sunburn Fast
Sunburn is not as funny as you think.
In many parts of the world, most people feel unhappy about the appearance of sunburn because it gives a part of their face or body a different colour but little do they know that as simple as it is, it can get to the extent of introducing skin cancer.
Are you worried already?
Calm down! In this post we will go over what sunburn is, the reason why sunburn finds its way to your skin, signs of sunburn, the risk factors, how you can get rid of it very fast and the measures you can easily take to prevent future occurrence.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Sunburn: what exactly is it?
In simple terms, sunburn is an inflammation of the skin, often with blistering, caused by overexposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of direct sunlight.
As the United States of America’s National Institute of Cancer defines it, inflammation is the redness, swelling, pain, and/or a feeling of heat in an area of the body. It is a protective reaction to injury, disease, or irritation of the tissues.
Now, the ultraviolet rays are invisible rays and they are part of the energy that comes from the sun. These ultraviolet rays are the main causes of damage to the skin from the sun.
Nearly half of UV radiation is received between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Who can easily experience sunburn?
The rate of occurrence of sunburn is not the same all over the world.
Studies have shown that people with darker skin e.g. Africans are less likely to experience sunburn compared to people with lighter skin and this is due to the presence of melanin. This skin pigment called melanin is produced by skin cells called melanocytes and it helps to block the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays.
As mentioned above, although the presence of melanin in darker skins means that the skin will be better protected as compared to lighter skin tones but the melanin is not completely safe from the ultraviolet and this connotes that darker skins can also experience sunburn.
A solid reference for this is the result from the study conducted by Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States of America. They found out that the black people of the population were the least likely to get sunburned. The white people, on the other hand, had the highest rates of people with sunburn cases.
Signs of Sunburn
The following are signs that you have sunburn:
1. There is a change in your skin tone, such as pinkness or redness as seen on lighter skins and hyperpigmentation (darker patches of skin) on darker skins.
2. Your skin feels warm or hot to the touch
3. Your skin becomes tender
4. Skin could be painful
6. Small-sized fluid-filled blisters on your skin and these blisters may break
7. If the sunburn is severe, you will experience headache, fatigue, fever and nausea
8. Pains in the eye
In short, both the covered areas and exposed areas can also burn.
Covered areas, burn? How?
If the clothe you put on allows the penetration of ultraviolet radiation, the part of your body affected can burn.
Examples of other exposed areas that can also burn include your scalp, earlobes and lips.
It is also important for you to note that sunburn symptoms usually appear just within a few hours after you’ve been exposed to the sun. But it may take you a day or more for you to know how serious the sunburn is.
Actually, within a few days, your body may start to heal itself by peeling off the top layer of the damaged skin. At the end of the peeling process, your skin may temporarily have an irregular colour and pattern.
But not in all cases does sunburn take few days to heal up. A terrible sunburn may take several days to heal and bring the skin back to its normal state.
Emergency Symptoms of Sunburn
If your sunburn comes with any of the following indications, it is advisable that you seek medical attention immediately. The symptoms include:
3. High temperature
4. Tiredness and dizziness
6. Muscle pain
Complications of Sunburn
Repeated exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun can present you with other risks that come alongside with sunburn. These complications can result in the damaging of your skin and they include:
1. Early aging of your skin
There is nothing we can really do about the body changes we experience as we grow older but when these signs surfaces early, there is a problem. Constant exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun can make you see signs of aging early.
Examples include wrinkles, reduced skin strength, dry skin, rough skin, red veins on your cheeks and dark spots on your face, chest, arms, the upper part of your back and the back of your hands.
2. Eye damage
The eye is one of the parts of the body that is directly exposed to light. The retina, lens and cornea can be damaged by the sun. For example, when the lens is negatively affected, your eyes will become cloudy and this is an indication of cataract.
3. Skin Cancer
Although not the only cause but skin cancer develops mainly on areas of the body most exposed to the ray of the sun. These areas include the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms, hands, legs and back.
Please visit the doctor if you notice a worrisome change in the appearance or texture of your skin.
How to Prevent Sunburn
A favourite sunburn prevention tip is the one from Healthline which explains that the best way to heal a burn quickly is to avoid getting one in the first place.
Here are some of the ways you can prevent sunburn:
1. Look for shade. Whenever you find yourself in the sun for a lengthy period, make sure you look for a shade and a good idea to do this is by having your umbrella handy.
2. Use a face cap or hat to protect the exposed parts of your face like, ears, eyes and neck. Sunglasses can protect your eyes and the skin around them.
3. Avoid exposing yourself to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This period is the sunniest part of the day and ultraviolet rays are strongest at this time.
4. Apply sunscreen. It is recommended that you wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 even on cloudy days. A good example is the Neutrogena Hydro Boost SPF50 or Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF100+. Re-apply at least every 2 hours and make sure you check the expiration date before you use it.
How to Heal Sunburn Quicker
1. Protect yourself against further damage
If going outside is a necessity, wear clothing that covers your skin and stay in an area with very limited exposure to sun.
2. Take cool baths
Cool your skin with a cool shower, bath or damp towel. Leave a little moisture on your skin by applying a moisturizer to prevent water from completely escaping from your body.
3. Drink lots of water
One good thing you want to do for your skin in cases like this is to stay hydrated. Sunburn draws moisture from your skin.
4. Apply Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera contains aloin that helps to reduce inflammation. It can prevent your skin from peeling and also moisturize it.
5. Cover the affected area
Cover the affected skin from direct sunlight until it has fully healed
6. Don’t pop any blister
Popping up blisters can get your skin exposed to infection. Yes, sometimes they open naturally and if that happens, clean the wound with mild soap and water and cover it.
7. Avoid applying petroleum jelly
Do not use petroleum jelly on sunburnt skin. Do not scratch or try to remove peeling skin.
How to Get Rid of Sunburn on Dark Skin
As noted earlier, the rate of occurrence of sunburn between the black people and the white people differs.
The whites have a lighter skin tone and this makes them experience sunburn more than the black people because darker skins contain melanin which serves as a defense system against the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
However, while the melanin aims to protect the skin, the look of dark patches on a dark skin which causes an uneven skin tone is a result of an overproduction of this melanin.
To eliminate the appearance of these dark spots caused by the production of excess melanin, it's recommended that you use Aloe Vera Gel, Honey and specialized products such as:
2. Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Cleanser (to be used at night only or away from the sun)
Sunburn can permanently damage your skin and could allow skin cancer develop. The best advice is to try all you can to prevent it and should in case you experience any of the symptoms outlined above, follow the recommendations or seek help from experts immediately.