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How To Stay Sun Smart This Summer

May 30, 2022 3 min read

How To Stay Sun Smart This Summer

There is no such thing as a safe tan. Tanned skin is damaged skin, pure and simple. Melanin is the brown pigment that causes tanning and is the body's way of protecting skin from burning. UV damage causes premature ageing, wrinkles and cancer, particularly in very fair, freckled or delicate Type 1 and Type 2 skin.

If you get too much sun, and particularly if you do not have the protection of a good, high SPF broad spectrum sunscreen, you will get burnt. Most people, particularly those who are not accustomed to living in a hot, sunny climate, will have experienced sunburn at some time in their lives. But how does this happen?

When UV rays damage the skin, blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow and bring in immune cells to try and repair the injury. This causes the redness, swelling and inflammation we associate with a sunburn. The sunburn will eventually heal, but some of the surviving cells will have mutations that escape repair.

If you see your skin start to turn pink in the sun, that means that means it is being injured. If you press your finger against the skin, the amount of damage being done may be indicated by how quickly the area turns from white to pink again. The more rapid the colour change, the more damage is being caused.

Severe cases of sunburn can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, so you should seek medical attention immediately if your skin is blistered or swollen, you have a high temperature with shivers, feel dizzy and sick, have a headache or muscle cramps, or if your baby or young child has sunburn.

 

To relive the torture of ‘devil’s itch’ start treatment right away

It is easy to get too much sun without even really noticing it, but once you do realise you are sunburnt it is important to begin treating it as soon as possible to relieve the discomfort. The first thing you should do is to get out of the sun, preferably into somewhere cool and shady indoors, and follow these tips: 

  • Take frequent cool (not freezing cold) baths or showers to relieve the pain. Gently pat yourself dry, but leave a little water on your skin, then apply a moisturiser containing aloe vera to help trap water, ease dryness and soothe the skin.
  • Elave Botanical Aftersun is an extremely gentle and easily absorbed formulation containing cooling menthol and soothing aloe vera. This light, non-greasy formula contains lots of nourishing ingredients, including antioxidant vitamin E and natural glycerin, to repair and recondition all skin types.
  • If a particular area feels especially uncomfortable, you may want to apply a hydrocortisone cream that you can buy from a pharmacist. Do not treat sunburn with products such as benzocaine, as these may irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction. Apply as directed by your pharmacist.
  • Consider taking aspirin or ibuprofen to help reduce any swelling, redness and discomfort, and drink lots of water. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body, so drinking extra water when you are sunburned helps prevent dehydration.
  • Blistering means you have a second-degree sunburn. Blisters start to show up between 6 and 24 hours after UV exposure and might persist for up to a week. Their function is to help your skin heal and protect you from infection, so do not pop them. They will heal on their own. If you have severe blisters and pain, contact your GP.
  • Itchiness is a sign that your skin is sloughing off dead skin cells and starting to heal. Resist the urge to scratch or peel your skin, as this could cause further damage or infection.  Calm the itch with a cool shower, cold compresses and lots of aloe vera. Do not put ice on your skin, as this inhibits healing.
  • Take extra care to protect sore sunburned skin while it heals by wearing light, tightly woven fabric when outdoors. If you can hold the fabric up to a bright light and not seen any light coming through, that is a good choice. And, of course, stay in the shade and wear an SPF50+ sunscreen at all times.

Some more reading material on all your skincare needs..

Children's Sun Cream 

Beauty & UV

 

 

Elave Skincare and Ovelle ranges of dermatologically-approved free-from natural products are available at gardinerfamilyapothecary.com, Boots, Dunnes Beauty and local pharmacies.

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