Causes of Sunburns and Methods of Prevention

admin April 9, 2013 Comments Off on Causes of Sunburns and Methods of Prevention

Sun bathing actually causes sunburns, yet it is vaguely indulged into by people for sun tanning. Health experts have clearly stated the harmful effects of sun’s rays on human skin, most of which are ignored by people. Naturally, both adults and children suffer from such ignorance. More than 30% of adults and about 70% of children have experienced sunburns. However, with appropriate care, skin can protected from the harmful effects of sun.

Some of the Causes of Sunburns

Simplest explanation of sunburn is the exposure of skin to sun for unusually long period or regularly. It turns red and, at times, irritated. The effects are more complicated beneath the surface. Sun emits three forms of UV light: UVA; UVB; and, UVC.

UVA and UVB radiation can penetrate skin of humans, while UVC does not reach the Earth’s surface. Sunburn is only the visible effect of overexposure while sun damage is the term used to denote alteration caused to the DNA, which may even lead to cancer. Sunburn mainly depends upon three factors: type of skin; intensity of sun; and, duration of exposure.

Causes of Sunburns

Signs of Sunburn

Normally sunburn can be recognized by reddened skin, which may even hurt. Swelling and blisters can develop in case of severe sunburns. People may feel fever, flu,chill, headache, nausea, weakness, etc. due to sunburn. Later, the skin starts to itch and peel off as the body gets rid of damaged skin. Treatment of sunburn is directed towards relief from reddening, inflammation and pain. Some of the remedies in this context are described hereunder.

Compresses – Sunburnt skin can be soothed with the application of cold compresses or by taking a cool bath. In fact, submerging in cold water for a few minutes has several healing effects.

Creams and Gels – The sting caused due to sunburn can be relieved by the application of creams or gels that contain Aloe, Camphor, Menthol, etc. Such creams can even be refrigerated before application for better effect.

NSAIDs – Ibuprofen, Naproxen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs relieve swelling and pain caused by sunburns.

Hydration – Drinking adequate water and fluid rehydrates body and prevents dehydration and other effects of strong heat.

Avoidance of sun – People who have experienced sunburn should stay away from it until it heals. Normally, sunburn can be healed with the help of homely remedies. However, doctor’s assistance should be sought if the following symptoms occur.

  • 102° or higher fever
  • Chills
  • Severe pain
  • 20% of the body or more covered by sunburn blisters
  • Dryness of mouth, dizziness, fatigue, thirst, reduction of urination, etc.

Prevention of sunburns – Stay away from the sun during its peak hours. If at all you have to venture out in the sun, appropriate clothes that provide sufficient protection against sun should be worn. Face, arms, necks and other parts of the body that remain exposed should properly protected by applying sunscreen or by any other means.

A sunscreen with a  Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more offers extra protection from the harmful rays of the sun. Even if sunscreens with a lesser SPF will protect your skin, sunscreens with higher SPF provide more safety to the skin thus protecting you from various skin conditions including skin cancer.

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