Sunburn is the condition of the skin caused due to overexposure to the sun and its harmful rays. When a person is exposed to ultraviolet radiation (both UVA and UVB) of the sun, his/her skin gets inflamed and reddish. The person may feel discomfort, irritation, itchy and pain on the skin.
The effects of direct sun rays may vary from person to person. In mild cases, the reactions can be:
1. Skin is warm to touch
2. Redness and itchy
4. Skin becomes painful
These effects may not emerge immediately after sun exposure. These may appear after six to twenty-four hours. Besides, there can be some really severe effects like:
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2. Nausea, fever
3. Second-degree burns
4. Wrinkles and scars
5. Skin flaking on the affected areas
6. Even skin cancer including melanoma
7. Death also due to acute exposure
As said before the effects are different on each person depending upon the ability of the body to protect the skin. Another noteworthy point is that light-skinned people are more susceptible than dark skinned ones. That means a person with fair skin is at more risk of sunburn injury while a person with a dark complexion will face lesser sunburns.
Exposure of sun between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. can cause greater damage as the sun rays are direct and severe. The adults experience the negative effects of sun rays. And so do children. The skin of babies and children is more sensitive and thus more prone to damage under direct sun rays. They need extra care and protection. It is better to take precaution and avoid the sun. Still, if a person gets sunburns, one must immediately take some treatment to relieve. Before seeking medical treatment, one can go for a cool bath for instant relief and choose any of the home remedies available at arm’s length. Some of the precautions are given below:
1. Avoid being outdoors between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm when the UV rays are more intense. If you have to be outside during this hour, try to wear a hat, sunglasses that protect your eyes from UV rays, and clothing made of light-colored, lightweight, tightly woven material.
2. Drink plenty of fluids to keep your body hydrated, and to replace the lost by the sunburn.
3. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor ( SPF ) of 15 or higher. Apply to the skin whenever you go outside or ride in the car, apply it to all exposed areas before going outside, repeating the procedure as often as possible, especially if you are swimming or perspiring. Make sure you buy a sunscreen that contains protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
4. Do not apply any creams, butter, petroleum jelly or any other greasy substance to a sunburn. They only cause more damage by trapping the heat and can make a burn deeper. The sunburn will heal faster if left exposed to the air.
5. Do not burst any blister. They form natural protection to help the skin sunburned to heal faster.
6. Wash the affected area with an antibacterial soap to prevent secondary infection.