Table of contents:
- Signs of sunburn
- What to do when you get burned
- What absolutely can not be done with burns
- What to do to avoid sunburn
- Who needs after-sun products
- First steps for a burn
- How to know when to see a doctor with a sunburn
- Is it possible to go outside with a burn
Forgot to put on or renew your sunscreen, but you were outdoors all day? We understand, therefore, especially for you, we have written this detailed guide of what you can and cannot do with sunburn of varying degrees. Read, memorize and don’t forget to share!
Nadezhda Baranova medical director Pierre Fabre, expert Eau Thermale Avene
The appearance of a burn on the skin is determined by the duration of exposure to ultraviolet radiation, the intensity of solar radiation, the presence of Sanskrin and the individual sensitivity of a person to solar radiation, which is mainly determined by the content of melanin in his skin. A person with fair skin can get burned in just 15-30 minutes of exposure to the sun without proper protection, while the owner of blue-black skin will never face a similar problem.
A burn is a very insidious and dangerous type of injury. It is not always possible to immediately assess the severity of the lesion received, since symptoms, including dangerous ones, in most cases develop and accumulate gradually and appear in the period from one hour to a day after receiving photodamage. The exception is severe reactions when treatment may require hospitalization.
Signs of sunburn
Reddened skin, hot to the touch, pain, swelling. With more severe damage - the appearance of blisters, fever, chills. Often, a sunburn is accompanied by heatstroke, with it you can feel headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, and babies often have vomiting, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate. With significant overheating, it is possible to develop a state of shock and loss of consciousness.
With a slight burn, reddening of the areas of the skin exposed to the sun first appears, soreness when touched and / or pain gradually joins, and with more severe damage, blisters of different diameters with liquid contents appear. Such blisters should not be pierced, as this will slow down healing and may lead to the addition of an infection. The maximum intensity of symptoms is most often observed 12 hours - a day after receiving a burn. Severe itching usually occurs a few days after the injury, and active exfoliation of the dead skin layer - after 4-7 days.
What to do when you get burned
The first thing to do, regardless of the degree of the burn, is to isolate the skin from direct exposure to sunlight, that is, take cover in the shade and throw something over yourself. If there are signs of heatstroke, you need to unfasten the embarrassing clothing, take a horizontal position, slightly raise your legs, building a roller with the help of improvised means. Ideal if you can move to a cool, well-ventilated area. You need to drink cool water.
You can cure mild sunburns yourself. It is necessary to cool the skin by moistening gauze in cool water and changing it as it warms up every 15-20 minutes. If the burn is extensive, a wet sheet can be used. When in contact with affected skin, it is important to avoid friction and pressure. Actions should be gentle, light.
If possible, take a cool shower. Contact with water will both cool the skin and reduce the burning pain. In the event of a local burn, for example, burned hands, you can pour cool water into a container and immerse the affected part of the body in it. Some people think that in case of a burn, ice cubes should be rubbed over the damaged skin. But I do not advise doing this, because relief will come quickly, but the consequences of this "procedure" are not the best: the death of epithelial cells, a long and painful recovery period, often ending in the formation of cosmetic defects.
With light burns, pain and swelling go away on their own after 2-3 days, and redness, redness and peeling - after about a week. The swelling gradually decreases, the skin begins to peel off. In addition to cooling treatments, it is wise to use products with a regenerating effect.
If the pain increases and becomes excruciating as the symptoms develop, you can take a pain reliever. Joining the general symptoms of headache, chills or fever, dry mouth is a reason for immediate medical attention or calling an ambulance. Professional medical attention is required if blisters have formed at the site of severe redness of the skin, inside which there is liquid, the body temperature rises, there is nausea and you experience severe pain.
With a significant rise in temperature, you can drink an antipyretic, which you need to tell your doctor. Self-medication of such burns is dangerous for its complications: the risk of secondary infection is high, which will slow down the recovery of the skin and the risk of scarring. In addition, the presence of such symptoms indicates a general overheating of the body and signals a possible heat stroke, in addition to sunburn.
Correct and timely actions of the victim will help to quickly forget about an unpleasant incident, while mistakes can be costly. And then it will be impossible to do without the help of a doctor.
What absolutely can not be done with burns
In case of sunburn, despite the existing recommendations of this kind on the Internet, alcohol-containing products should not be applied to damaged skin, since alcohol causes additional dehydration and can aggravate the situation, provoking skin irritation or contact dermatitis. The use of "folk recipes" can aggravate the situation, increase inflammation and cause a secondary infection to join. It is also strictly forbidden to wash damaged areas with soap, rub the skin with a washcloth, apply scrubs - all this will increase the inflammatory reaction.
If a sunburn is obtained, then during the entire period of skin regeneration it is impossible to sunbathe and it is advisable to avoid being in direct sunlight. If this is not possible, protect the skin with closed, loose-fitting clothing made of light, preferably natural fabrics. Don't forget about sunglasses and a hat.
Excessive exposure to UV rays on skin cells leads to their damage: to structural changes in DNA, which increase the risk of skin cancer, to the appearance of uneven coloration of the skin and age spots, and premature aging. Parents should always keep in mind that sunburn in childhood and adolescence significantly increases the risk of skin cancer and melanoma.
Particular attention should be paid to people taking photosensitizing drugs that increase the sensitivity of the skin to UV exposure, suffering from photodermatosis, vitiligo, albinos, owners of "light phototypes". However, signs of photodamage during intense or prolonged sun exposure are also observed in people with dark skin, only their development is delayed in time, and they are less pronounced due to the higher content of the protective pigment melanin compared to light-skinned people.
What to do to avoid sunburn
Preventing is always easier than fixing. Remember to wear sunscreens that are highly waterproof and broad-spectrum. You also need to remember about hats, sunglasses and loose clothing in light shades.
Who needs after-sun products
Each of us should pay special attention to the prevention of dehydration. After-sun products - gels and creams - contain substances that help maintain the natural moisture balance of the skin, activate the regeneration processes. Even if you are not sunburned, do not forget: tanning is nothing more than photoinduced skin damage, that is, a protective reaction of the body to excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which allows you to reduce the dose of radiation received. This, in fact, is the whole benefit of tanning for the body.
And finally, here's what I think everyone should remember:
- The intensity of solar radiation is maximal between 10 am and 4 pm, especially in late spring, summer and early autumn, so it is better to avoid the open sun during these hours.
- The use of self-tanning does not affect the protective function of the skin against UV, since it only stains the surface layer of the skin by changing the color of keratin and does not in any way affect the amount of melanin produced by melanocytes.
- Water, sand, snow - reflect the sun's rays, which gives an additional load on the protective mechanisms of the skin.
- UV radiation passes through clouds, so sunburn can occur in cloudy weather if protection is not taken care of in advance.
Ksenia Kirillova Cosmetologist, Ph. D., author of the "Clean Skin" course, Bioderma expert
First steps for a burn
Never use sour cream, butter, greasy creams or anything similar. Such products create a film that prevents the skin from cooling and increases the severity of the burn.
The most important thing is to cool the skin with a cold compress. For this, any towel moistened with as cold water as possible will do. Apply to the burned area several times, dampening the compress as it warms up until the heat subsides. Then you can apply anti-scald products, such as special foam.
How to know when to see a doctor with a sunburn
After overheating, a short-term increase in body temperature is possible, so once you can take an antipyretic. It is important to stay in a cool room and avoid further overheating. However, if after the temperature rises again, then this is a reason to consult a doctor.
If you have not just redness of the skin, but blisters, crusts or persistent soreness and redness of the skin for more than three days, then you should also contact a dermatologist.
Is it possible to go outside with a burn
Of course, skin already damaged by a burn requires further careful handling and additional new heating when going out into the open sun will exacerbate the problem and will definitely provoke complications such as hyperpigmentation or scarring. If you need to go outside, cover your skin with clothing, avoid sun exposure to your skin as much as possible, and use sunscreen.