Sunburn is skin damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays. Any exposed part of your body can burn. Signs and symptoms of sunburn usually appear within a few hours after sun exposure. But it may take a day or longer to know the full extent of your sunburn.
It usually causes the skin to become red, sore, warm, tender and occasionally itchy for about a week. The skin will normally start to flake and peel after a few days and will usually fully heal within seven days. While sunburn is often short-lived and mild, it's important to try to avoid it, because it can increase your chances of developing serious health problems, such as skin cancer, in later life.
It’s easy to underestimate your exposure to the sun when outside, as the redness doesn’t usually develop for several hours. Breezes and getting wet (such as going in and out of the sea) may cool your skin, so you don’t realize you’re getting burnt. You should always be aware of the risk of sunburn if you’re outside in strong sun and look out for your skin getting hot.
Even though you're probably concerned with covering every inch of your body, it's strangely easy to neglect your hands, which is not good considering that a recent study found that less than half of people applied sunscreen to their hands. You'll want to cover your palms, the tops of your hands, and in between your fingers, being sure to apply anytime you swim, sweat, towel off, or grab onto that ice-cold beverage.
Sunburn signs and symptoms include:
• Pinkness or redness
• Skin that feels warm or hot to the touch
• Pain, tenderness and itching
• Small fluid-filled blisters, which may break
• Headache, fever, nausea and fatigue if the sunburn is severe
What to do if you're sunburnt
Your skin can burn if it gets too much sun without proper protection from sunscreen and clothes. To help heal and soothe stinging skin, it is important to begin treating sunburn as soon as you notice it. The first thing you should do is get out of the sun—and preferably indoors.
Take frequent cool baths or showers to help relieve the pain. As soon as you get out of the bathtub or shower, gently pat yourself dry, but leave a little water on your skin. Then, apply a moisturizer to help trap the water in your skin. This can help ease the dryness.
Use a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy to help soothe sunburned skin. If a particular area feels especially uncomfortable, you may want to apply a hydrocortisone cream that you can buy without a prescription. Do not treat sunburn with “-caine” products (such as benzocaine), as these may irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction.
Consider taking aspirin or ibuprofen to help reduce any swelling, redness and discomfort.
Drink extra water. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body. Drinking extra water when you are sunburned helps prevent dehydration.
If your skin blisters, allow the blisters to heal. Blistering skin means you have a second-degree sunburn. You should not pop the blisters, as blisters form to help your skin heal and protect you from infection.
Take extra care to protect sunburned skin while it heals. Wear clothing that covers your skin when outdoors. Tightly-woven fabrics work best. When you hold the fabric up to a bright light, you shouldn’t see any light coming through.
Although it may seem like a temporary condition, sunburn—a result of skin receiving too much exposure from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays—can cause long-lasting damage to the skin. Skin cells in the top layer of skin (epidermis) produce a pigment called melanin, which gives skin its natural color. When skin is exposed to UV radiation, more melanin is produced, causing the skin to darken and tan. A tan is a sign that the skin has been damaged from UV radiation. It is not a sign of good health.
Over time, your hands can look wrinkled or develop spots. This damage increases a person’s risk for getting skin cancer, making it critical to protect the skin from the sun.
It is also important to remember that tanning without burning can still cause skin damage, premature skin aging and skin cancer. UV radiation can cause irreparable damage to the genes in the skin's cells.
For more information or to request an appointment,
please contact Dr. Patrick McDaid, M.D. at www.mcdaidorthohand.com/contact