Sunburn: causes, symptoms and treatment
Solar radiation is caused by abusive exposure to UV radiation without proper protection. Sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer.
- Sunburn – general information
- When sunburn occurs
- Recommended sun exposure range
- The main symptoms
- First aid
- Methods of treatment
- Medical consultation
- Sunburn-related conditions
- Prevention methods
- Sunburn, general information
What are the sun’s rays
Solar radiation is the radiation emanating from the sun. Among these, ultraviolet (UV) radiation can have unwanted effects on skin and health. Long exposure to UV radiation, whether natural or artificial, is harmful to health.
There are several types of UV radiation – those that affect the skin are the following:
UVA radiation – these radiation can affect cellular DNA in the skin. They are associated with long-term harmful effects such as wrinkles and skin cancer.
UVB radiation – these radiation are responsible for sunburn, but they also increase the risk of skin cancer.
The difference between UVA and UVB radiation is how they penetrate the skin. UVB radiation is what causes your skin to become red. In the first phase, UVB radiation triggers a reaction to the skin, which causes redness and inflammation. In the long run, however, this type of radiation destroys the DNA structure of the skin. The rapidity with which a burn occurs on the surface of the skin is determined by factors such as your skin type, sunshine, and sunshine exposure time.
Burns in the case of children
Sunburn in children is harmful both in the short term and in the short term. Sunburn can occur after 15 minutes of exposure to the sun, but the discomfort and symptoms caused by it may occur a few hours later. In the long run, however, repeated sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer.
Signs and symptoms of sunburn in children are: redness, pain, itching, nausea, skin inflammation, nausea, nausea, headache, fever and dizziness. Children’s skin is more sensitive to UV radiation compared to adults, so it is extremely important to protect the small ones from sunburn.
In the case of babies, sunburn is extremely dangerous, increasing the risk of complications – it is important to call for emergency medical help.
Burns in the case of adults
Also in the case of adults, sunburn is manifested by redness and sensitization of the skin and occurs 12-24 hours after exposure to radiation. We are all predisposed to sunburn, but people with very white skin and freckles are at increased risk of sunburn.
Graduation of sunburn
Sunburn can be classified into 3 categories, depending on the severity of the symptoms:
1st degree sunburn – these are the most common sunburns and are manifested by the appearance of reddened, sensitive and painful areas on the skin. Symptoms may worsen during the first 36 hours and then improve over the next 5 days.
2nd degree sunburn – these affect, in addition to the first layer of the skin, the second one and cause painful and fluid basics that will break and will lead to exfoliating the superficial layer of the skin. Symptoms show an increase in the first 48 hours and then begin to be mild. They can leave scars after healing. Grade 2 sunburns heal in 10-12 days.
3rd degree sunburn – in the case of grade 3 burns, the skin is deeply affected. Thus, it becomes susceptible to infection. Grade 3 burns have more aggressive symptoms. Medical care is needed to treat these sunburns, but also to reduce associated risks.
When sunburn occurs
Bronze is the natural method by which the body defends itself from UV radiation. Melanin, the bronze responsible pigment, is produced by melanocytes (n.r. cells of the skin) when we expose our skin to the sun. Melanin absorbs UV radiation and acts like a natural beach lotion. But when UV radiation is too strong, the body’s defense system is overwhelmed and a toxic reaction occurs, resulting in sunburn.
We are all predisposed to sunburn, but there are situations where the risk is increased.
People with skin pigment very open
People with a very light skin pigment, maybe blue eyes or blond hair, are more prone to sunburns as their skin produces a lower amount of melanin, which means the skin is more exposed.
And red-haired are at increased risk of sunburn. They also have increased risk.
During summer, the risk of sunburn is much higher than in other seasons. That’s why in the warm season we need to pay more attention to solar protection.
Altitude and latitude
The higher the altitude you are, the higher the risk of sunburn. That’s because solar radiation is more intense at high altitudes. And latitude plays an important role in the occurrence of sunburn. The more your destination is closer to the equatorial area, the higher the risk of sunburn.
The UV radiation index of each day
The UV Index is designed to provide us with information about UV rays that, although they have devastating effects on the skin, can not be spotted with the naked eye. This index is made on a scale of 0 to 11. The weather reports provide information on the ultraviolet radiation index during the summer. According to specialists, if the radiation index exceeds the value of 8, we should avoid exposure to the sun because the radiation is extremely strong.
Recommended sun exposure range
According to specialists, it is recommended to expose our skin to sun in the morning and in the evening, when UV radiation is at moderate or low intensity. For example, in the summertime, between 10 and 16 hours, radiation increases in intensity, so it is best to avoid exposure to the sun during this time.
Benefits of right Exposure
Moderate sun exposure has a number of beneficial effects:
- Benefits for mental health – Moderate sun exposure stimulates serotonin release. When the retina records the sunlight, it sends a signal to the brain, which in turn releases serotonin, a hormone known for its well-being.
- Stimulates the release of vitamin D in the body – exposure to UVB radiation causes the body to produce vitamin D. This vitamin is known to be indispensable for healthy bones.
- It has therapeutic effects for skin disorders – according to specialists, moderate sun exposure is recommended for the treatment of eczema, acne or psoriasis.
As long as sun exposure is not abusive so the radiation affects cellular DNA, the sun’s rays bring only benefits.
The main symptoms of sunburn
Sunburn is manifested by the following symptoms:
- redness of the skin
- increased skin temperature – the area is hot to the touch
- sensitivity, pain or itching in the skin of the sun
- swelling of the skin in sunburned areas
- appearance of liquid-filled bumpers that can break
In case of sunburn, medical help is needed if the following symptoms are observed:
- if the bases cover a large part of the body
- if you experience symptoms such as fever, severe headache, nausea, chills or pain in the skin
- if the patient’s condition did not improve after a few days
- if signs of infection have occurred – pus in a broken bastion, excessive swelling of a basics, red leakage from inside a basil
- if there are signs of a sunburn – severe dehydration, confusion
If the patient does not need medical help, he can take the following measures:
- treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs that can relieve inflammation and pain
- cold water compresses or bathtubs filled with cold water
- moisturizing the skin with special lotions or aloe vera
Methods of treatment
Grade 1 or 2 sunburn can be treated at home. In case of severe sunburns, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a physician.
Classic treatment for sunburn
Symptoms of sunburn will improve in 2 days, but will eventually disappear after several days. Treatment for sunburn will not heal the skin, but it will relieve pain and reduce discomfort until the skin heals itself. The effects that sunburns have in the long run can not be cured by treatment.
Classical treatment for sunburn includes anti-inflammatory drugs that relieve inflammation and pain associated with it. There are anti-inflammatory and in the form of cream or gel, which can be applied to affected areas to relieve pain.
Cold compressions directly applied to problem areas are effective in treating sunburn. Commercial cream and gels, based on aloe and menthol, are also effective in treating sunburn. Hydration also has an essential role in the process of healing sunburn.
Prevention of overinfection
If the burns are so severe that liquid-filled basics have appeared, a priority is to prevent the superinfection. Washing the area with water and soap as well as applying a topical antibiotic and bandaging the area will reduce the risk of infection.
Natural treatment for sunburn
A series of natural treatments can be used to relieve symptoms specific to sunburn. These are handy and make the symptoms more easy to heal until the skin is healed.
The aloe vera gel, extracted from the leaf of the succulent aloe plant, has calming, moisturizing and regenerating effects on the skin. This is also recommended by doctors at the American Academy of Dermatology to treat sunburn. Studies in the field have shown that aloe vera reduces inflammation and accelerates the healing of the skin. Containing a large amount of antioxidants, aloe vera gel combats the effects of free radicals on the skin.
Coconut oil is also effective in treating sunburn. It contains a large amount of saturated fat, it deeply hydrates the skin. Sunburned skin becomes dry and itch, but coconut oil gives it moisturizing, fighting unpleasant effects.
Cold yogurt is often used to soothe pain and discomfort associated with sunburn. It contains plenty of probiotics and rebuilds the tissues of the skin, also relieving the pain and the sensation of fatigue.
This method is not so popular in Romania, but the ocean is one of the most known and used natural methods to combat sunburn. Oatmeal flakes or oats are placed in the water from the bathtub, where it will then be bathed, to soothe the unpleasant symptoms of sunburn.
The antioxidant properties of Vitamin C make it an ally against sunburn. Vitamin C protects the skin from free radicals caused by UV radiation. Moreover, vitamin C can also be used as an oil to reduce the severity of sunburn.
The tea contains plenty of antioxidants that help the skin heal more quickly. Due to the high content of polyphenols, redness of the skin is also reduced. Catechins in tea stimulate skin rejuvenation. Any time of herbal tea can be used, but chamomile is especially recommended because of its calming properties.
Like oats, corn starch is used more over the ocean to heal sunburns. Inflammation and itching of the skin disappears following the use of corn starch. It has to be added to the water in the bathtub we are bathing in. For even stronger effects, it can be mixed with sodium bicarbonate.
Green salad is rich in vitamin and antioxidant content so it can speed up the healing process of sunburn. Throw a few salad leaves and use them as a compressor on the problem area. You will immediately notice an improvement in the symptoms.
Cucumber is a highly effective natural replacement for beach lotions. This, if applied to sunburned skin, has calming, refreshing and moisturizing effects. For stronger effects, use the blender to get a cucumber paste and lubricate your skin with the paste.
Hammamelis tincture or extract can be used to combat sunburn. They have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic and regenerative effects. Which means that the pains and discomfort caused by sunburn will be improved and the healing process will be accelerated.
Corn starch improves the symptoms of sunburn. Cut sliced potatoes, which you then apply directly to the skin, or put it on the chopper and apply the paste obtained on the burned skin.
Oatmeal balm oval has strong effects when it comes to calming sunburn. It instantly improves symptoms and moisturizes the skin in depth, thus speeding up healing.
Physician visit / Medical consultation
If sunburn is not superficial and has aggressive symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical help to resolve the situation.
Go to your doctor if you get the following signs and symptoms:
- burns are severe and fluid-filled basics have appeared on a large surface of the body
- burns are accompanied by fever, headaches, severe pain in the skin, dehydration, confusion, nausea or chills
- suspect an infection in a basics
- Burns do not improve after a few days of home care
The factors that determine the emergency situation
If signs of severe sunstroke or dehydration and the following symptoms occur, it is an emergency situation and immediate medical attention is required:
- accelerated pulse
- extreme thirst
- lack of urination
- nausea, vomiting