According to a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, women who had five or more blistering sunburns between the ages of 15 and 20, compared to those that had none, are likely to have a higher risk of melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer by 80%. Although temporary, sunburns can cause long-lasting damage to the skin by significantly increasing the risk of skin cancers, wrinkles, and sun spots.
Sunburn is skin damage caused by ultraviolet rays from sun exposure. The skin becomes red, warm, sore and tender. It may start to flake and peel after a few days, and will usually fully heal within 7 days. Sunburn is usually mild and short-lived, but it’s important to take soothing measures to prevent further damage.
Stay out of the sun
Once you feel the sting of sunburn, immediately find a shade and cover your body. If you are at the beach or at a pool, sand, salt water and chlorine can all aggravate the pain and maybe a possible source of infection.
Cool it down
A cool shower or bath can soothe your skin inflammation. If you’re near a cold pool, lake or ocean, you should dip yourself in for a few seconds before finding a shade. But be careful not to overdo so you don’t prolong your exposure. Continue to cool the burn with cold compresses such as ice. Do not apply ice directly to the sunburn. Instead, apply a towel-wrapped ice pack to the affected area for five minutes. Re-apply a few times a day as needed.
After taking a shower or a bath, use a gentle moisturizing lotion to seal the top layer of the skin, protecting it from infections and irritation. Avoid fragranced products and choose a basic moisturizer that will protect and soothe the skin Repeat to keep burned or peeling skin moist over the next few days.
Wear loose clothing
Loose clothing will be more comfortable for you throughout the recovery period. You should also remove any tight rings, bracelets or watches if your hands or arms are burned and swollen. Tight clothing can trigger painful blistering on skin that’s already damaged.
Sunburn draws fluids to the skin’s surface instead of the rest of the body. To compensate, drink plenty of water and other fluids so that you don’t become dehydrated.
You can also reduce the inflammation by taking anti-inflammatory medications. It will not only reduce swelling and redness but also help you deal with the pain. Over the counter anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin may help. Once the swelling subsides, your skin cells can repair the sunburned skin’s barrier and generating new skin.
Protect the blisters
Second-degree burn can cause blisters. If blisters appear, don’t try to rupture or peel them. Keep them clean, dry, and bandaged or covered with gauze during the day. You can remove the bandages and cover them lightly with a gauze to give you skin some air and prevent the dressing from causing any itching or irritation. Apply an antibiotic ointment if they break and then cover them with gauze.
Prevent further sun damage
While your sunburned skin is healing, it’s also important to protect it from further sun exposure. This includes staying in the shade, wear sun protective clothing, and most importantly, wear your sunscreen.
You should seek medical help if you have severe blistering over a large portion of the body, fever and chills, or if the blister is oozing pus which is a sign of infection.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: November 15, 2018 | Last Modified: November 15, 2018