Sunburn Facts and Safety

We all want to soak up the sun rays during the summertime, but do you know how to be safe when out in the sun?  Repeated sunburns can cause serious damage to your skin.  It can cause wrinkled skin, dark spots, rough spots and skin cancers such as melanoma.

The best ways to keep yourself safe when outside during the summer months is by:

1.  Using sunscreen every time you go outdoors. 

  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater.
  • Find a sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB light.
  • Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15-30 minutes prior to sun exposure.
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours and after sweating or swimming.

2.  Keep your skin hydrated and moisturized after a sunburn.

  • If you become sunburned, apply moisturizers that contain aloe, glycerin, or hyaluronic acid.
  • Sunburns can lead to dehydration because it draws fluid to the skin surface and out and away from the rest of the body.
  • Signs to know if you are dehydrated are:  dry mouth, reduced urination, headache and sleepiness.

3.  Sunburns can occur on all parts of your body.

  • Make sure to apply sunscreen to all areas of the body, not just the obvious areas.  Sunscreen should also be applied to the earlobes, lips, and your scalp.  Hats with brims can also be used to protect these areas.
  • To protect your eyes from being damaged, make sure to wear sunglasses.

4.  If you become sunburned, ibuprofen or aspirin can help to decrease the discomfort of a sunburn. 

  • Not only can these medications help ease the pain, they can also reduce the swelling and redness that may occur.
  • They also serve as an anti-inflammatory.

5.  Severe sunburns may need to be treated by a medical physician.

  • Sunburns can become infected if severe enough.
  • Signs of a severe sunburn are:  increased pain and tenderness, increased swelling, yellow drainage from an open blister, and red streaks leading away from the open blister.

6.  Remember, sunburns don’t just occur on sunny days.  You can still become sunburned on cloudy days as well.

7.  Be mindful of what medications you are on.

  • Some medications such as doxycycline, sulfonamides, fluoroquinolones, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, thiazide diuretics, furosemide, lamotrigine, antihistamines, or isoniazid can all increase your risks of getting a sunburn.

By wearing proper sun gear such as hats, sunscreen, sunglasses and light long sleeve shirts we can still have a fun summer without the burn.