While laying out for hours to get those sought after tan lines and golden skin is a popular summer pastime, the long term effects of prolonged sun exposure are somewhat frightening. Getting sunburnt and even just a little bit tanner can put any sun lover at higher risk for retaining cellular damage, early wrinkling, age spots, actinic keratosis, and skin cancer, with melanoma being the most serious. Read on to find out how to treat and prevent sunburns and what to do if your skin starts acting weird.
First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of skin and generally appear within hours of being exposed to the sun. Common symptoms include redness, skin that’s warm to the touch, and mild pain. They usually take days and sometimes weeks to completely heal, while they can be treated with basic over-the-counter medications. Pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen can reduce any soreness, while cold packs, aloe, or moisturizing lotions may help you cool off.
Second-degree burns are more serious in that the damage goes beyond the top layers of skin. Deeper layers are affected and sometimes even nerve endings can be ruptured. These burns are more painful, may blister, and will take longer to heal. Your skin forms water blisters in an attempt to cool itself off so make sure to avoid popping them as this can lead to infection.
Stay out of the sun as much as possible, especially between 10am and 4pm when the sun’s rays are the most harmful. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed body parts. If you’re venturing outside for a long hike or any other reason, make sure to wear a protective hat and sunglasses, as well as other articles of clothing that fully cover your skin.
Contact Your Doctor If:
- You notice changes to your skin’s appearance such as new growths, moles, or a sore that won’t go away.
- If you notice changes in a mole, such as in size, shape, color, or if it itches, oozes, or bleeds.
- If you find anything on your skin, from a blemish to an open sore, and you’re not sure what it is.
Always consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for all health related advice.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.