11 things you need to know about sunburns

Sunburns are possibly the worst way to start the summer off! Sun protection is a huge deal with us at Likewise, which is why I try my best to inform my patients – and my lovely readers! – about how to proceed with caution. As the weather continues to heat up, be aware of these 11 things you definitely need to know about sunburns.

  1. UVB radiation causes sunburns. The most significant amount of UVB rays hit the earth’s surface between 10am and 4pm from April through October, and that’s when the majority of sunburns occur.
  2. Redness peaks several hours later. After being exposed to the sun, redness doesn’t appear before 4 hours after initial sun exposure, and peaks between 8-24 hours.
  3. It’s painful. Symptoms can include mild erythema, pain, swelling and even second-degree burns and blisters. Get indoors!
  4. Cool off properly… Remove heat from your skin with cool soaks, baths or showers. Make sure you moisturize immediately after you shower to help your skin maintain the healthy, moist environment it needs to recover.
  5. … And drink water. Sunburn can be dehydrating, which causes fluid loss through your skin. Drinking water is essential to healing and soothing a sunburn.
  6. Treat yourself. If you have mild burns or blisters, using topical steroids such as hydrocortisone and ibuprofen will calm the reaction. For moderate to severe cases, using a stronger steroid like Triamcinolone .1% or oral steroids will help.
  7. Don’t pop your blisters. Big, big no-no! Your blister surface actually serves as a natural bandaid allowing the new skin to grow, protected from environmental irritants and bacteria – so don’t ruin it!
  8. Look at your labels. Do not use lotions containing benzocaine, lidocaine or diphenhydramine – they can cause allergic contact dermatitis.
  9. Be preventative. Avoid sunburns altogether by using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30-50 if you’re outdoors, and specifically a water-resistant sunscreen if you’ll be sweating or in the water. Reapply your sunscreen at least once between 10am – 4pm.
  10. Cover up. Wearing light clothing can help, too. Simple rule: if images can be seen through a shirt held up to a strong light, the SPF is approximately 15. If light gets through the shirt but no images are seen, the SPF is approximately 15-50, and if no images are seen the SPF is at least 50. UVB rays do not penetrate windows and sunburns cannot happen when inside a building or car with the windows up.
  11. Remember that your face is always exposed. Long term, repeated exposure to UVA/UVB rays are the cause of wrinkles, aging and skin cancer – and UVA rays are always present throughout the year during daylight hours, and even penetrate windows. While you can’t exactly keep your face covered at all times, you can certainly apply a UVA/UVB sunscreen such as Likewise Daily Moisturizing Defense everyday as a preventative measure.

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