Excessive exposure to the sun’s ultra violet rays, (the most powerful source of heat, light and energy known to us) can cause a red painful burn on the skin known as sunburn. Less exposure to sun cannot cause sunburn, it happens because of regular and excessive absorption of ultra violet rays by the skin. Less exposure to UV rays cause tanning. Lifetime overexposure may further cause skin cancer. Dark colored people are at less risk of having sunburn as the fair colored people because less pigment in the skin provides less protection.
Sunburn can be mild or very severe. In first degree sunburn there is not much pain and irritation but the skin gets red. In second degree sunburn the skin gets red and there can also be some water blisters with peeling. An immediate medical help is required for the third degree sunburn because in this lower cells are damaged causing cracks and eruption in the skin. This provides the way for infectious bacteria to enter the skin. Sunburn treatment is according to the degree of the burn.
CAUSES OF SUNBURN
It may happen to a person who goes out for fishing or swimming in sunlight, a visit at the beach, outdoor activities in the sun, hiking, skiing etc. Sometimes we drink less water and eat junk food all the day instead of having nutritious food and are out in the sun for whole day, this may also cause sunburn.
A similar burn can be produced by excessive exposure to other sources of UV rays like welding arcs, tanning lamps etc.
Having birth control pills or using some soaps and shampoos having antibacterial agents can be another cause of sunburn.
No doubt that exposure to sun rays is beneficial for our health but excessive exposure can cause sunburn.
SYMPTOMS OF SUNBURN
After few hours of sun exposure you will feel pain, irritation and skin starts turning red. You will feel weakness, dizziness, fatigue, headache, confusion etc. There will be profuse sweating and high blood pressure. In some cases people may feel severe skin burning and blistering. In these there can be massive fluid loss, electrolyte or infection.
After some hours or a day the person suffering from sunburn may feel fever and chill.
HERE ARE SOME WAYS TO GET RID OF SUNBURN
As soon as you realize that you are having sunburn try to keep your skin cool. The best way for this is to have a cool shower. You can add half cup of oat milk, baking soda or cornstarch to your bath. This will help to calm the irritation and pain to some extent. You can also gently press the effected area with cool wet cloth as it will give you temporary relief from pain. Do not use soap while bathing because soap takes away the natural moisture and oils from your skin. These oils are very necessary to heal the effected skin.
If you are at a place where you cannot take bath then stay in a cool place, away from the sun and drink lots of water or fluid.
You can have analgesics like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin to ease the pain.
Rinse and soak the skin regularly with cold water to get fast relief. You can also apply curd or lavender oil on the effected skin. This will help to reduce the pain.
White or apple cider vinegar is very helpful in fast healing, relief from pain and to avoid blistering and peeling but if there are water blisters then do not attempt to pop them. Let them burst on their own. You can apply an antibacterial ointment to the open part but not on the water blisters. In fact do not apply any cream, lotion, balm, moisturizer on water blisters because it can cause infection. You must go for medical help if there are severe blisters and fever.
Keep your body properly hydrated by drinking lots of water, say 8 to 10 glasses per day and eat healthy, nutritional diet to get rid of sunburn.
Avoid going out in the sun because the skin around the sunburn is on the verge of burning. Moreover heat of sun irritates the effected part. Try to remain in the cool place to recover from the burn as soon as possible.
Wear loose fitting clothes to avoid the contact of clothes with the effected skin because this may cause irritation and pain. Keep the effected skin untouched as much as possible to get fast relief and avoid pain.
You can apply calamine lotion 2 to 3 times a day for fast healing or you can use lotions or after sun lotions that keep your skin moist and healthy. Plain moisturizers won’t do much. You can go for the one that contains the aloe. Keep these lotions in the refrigerator for extra soothing feel.
HOME REMEDIES FOR SUNBURN
Applying crushed tomato on the effected area will help in fast healing but this will be painful. You can use aloe Vera cream or gel for treating sunburn.
Cucumber slices dipped with lemon juice or cucumber paste with some drops of glycerin is a good source to get rid of sunburn. This is one of the best home remedy.
Make a paste with strawberries and buttermilk. Apply this paste on the burnt skin. Strawberries will help to treat sunburn while buttermilk provides cool soothing feel and reduce irritation.
You can use vitamin E oil mixed with white petroleum jelly. It helps the skin to recover fast.
Apply olive oil or sesame oil or pumpkin seed oil at night. This is another good remedy to get rid of sunburn.
Mix six tablespoons of olive oil with the half quantity of lavender and one teaspoon of iodine. Apply this lotion on the burnt area.
Avoid going out in the sun. But if you have to go then cover the exposed body parts properly with some cloth. You can also apply sunscreen lotion to stay away from ultra violet rays.
Wide brimmed cap will help to protect your scalp face and neck.
Always wear sunglasses as it will protect your eyes and skin around the eyes from UV rays.
These precautions are necessary even on the cloudy day because clouds do not restrict the ultraviolet rays coming from sun.
Don’t plan for whole day tanning at the beach if you are not in the habit to spend much time in the sun. This may cause sunburn. Before starting a vacation at the beach visit a tanning saloon for at least a week so that your skin gets ready for the sun. You can start by spending 15 minutes in the sun and observe your skin sensitivity. Use sunscreen with at least 8 SPF. Reapply it after 2 or 3 hours.
Some medicines increase your sensitivity towards sun so if you are having any medications then consult your doctor before going on a vacation on the beach.
Boil the water, put lanolin and Vaseline in it. When both get melted add 3-4 drops of vitamin A and vitamin E oil. Also add one tablespoon of sunflower and wheat germ oil. Now start beating until the mixture gets cool. Put this mixture in a pot and seal it when cold. Use gently on the shoulders, chin, nose, hands, neck to stay away from a burn.