Exposure to sunlight has as a general reason the desire to have a beautiful sun tan, but has other benefits, such as stimulating the secretion of vitamin D, involved in the fight against rickets in children and osteomalaciain in adults (affections caused by lack of calcium and vitamin D, which encourages its absorption at the intestinal level).
Unfortunately, however, whether because of the negligence (falling asleep on the beach, children left to play freely without being monitored and advised to play in the shade etc.) or the desire to obtain as soon as possible dark tan, many people get to the doctor or in the pharmacies with solar burns disturbed and not negligible in terms of severity.
What is tan?
Tan is gained through the operation of natural protection mechanisms of the body, more specifically the intensifying of the melanin secretion at the level of skin cells, forming a layer that protects against UV rays, those involved in producing solar burns.
But this synthesis of melanin requires time, so that the body can adapt. If you start your “sessions” of getting a suntan all of a sudden, you will obtain areas of burnt skin instead of what you wished for. Caution exposure to the sun, for a short time, in the hours when the sun is not very strong, will ensure getting a nice and healthy tan.
Risk factors for sunburns
To produce sunburns, there are several important factors:
- Time of exposure to the sun, the intensity of the sun from the moment of exposure, skin sensitivity;
- The blond or red or speckled, those with white and thin skin are most likely to get sunburns;
- Consumption of alcohol before exposure to the sun ( has a dehydrating effect), diseases of the skin irritation areas;
- The location of a person exposed to the sun: increases the risk of burns if that person is near areas reflecting the sun (water, sand, ice);
- Altitude: the higher it is, the degree of filtering of the sun radiations decreases;
- Latitude: the closer the person is to the Equator, the higher the risk of sunburns because the sun rays get as close as they can to the perpendicular on the ground, so their filtering is very decreased.
How do we recognize sunburns?
After sun exposure, pigmentation of the skin may occur and also it may turn red, the skin becoming painful and slightly swallowed. The local temperature changes upward. If small blisters don’t appear, this sunburn may be considered of being of 1st degree and it can be treated at home.
But if the pain is intense, and if the areas of skin have the same characteristics as the ones described above, but after a while appear blisters, burning is of second degree. Its gravity does not consist only in the symptomalogy that it produces to a patient, but also in the high state of dehydrating to which it predisposes, the heart rate changes and propensity of those blisters to get over-infected.
Do not break and do not treat them with natural creams, yogurt or other methods, but go to the doctor urgently. For any event that appears adjacent to these symptoms (urine output, fever, chills, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, vertigo, etc.) emergently go see a physician.
Negative consequences of unhealthy exposure to the sun
Exposure to sunlight in unfit conditions for a longer time has other negative effects besides the sunburns, such as:
- Sunstroke or other diseases caused by excessive temperatures
- Eye problems, damage to the retina caused by strong sunlight (especially the reflections in water), which may go up to a total or partial loss of vision
- Allergies caused by UV rays and creams used for solar protection
- Dropping of the immune system and propensity to infections
Long-term risks are:
- Changes of the DNA of skin cells, changes that predispose them to skin cancer
- Worsening of chronic diseases as a result of the decrease in immunity, such as lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis
- The cataract (as the effect of direct exposure to intense sun and over a long period of time), cataract is, in turn, one of the causes of occurrence of blindness
- Aging skin, the appearance of small, multiple, brownish spots, in areas of high exposure to the sun (hands, back, shoulders, cheeks), the occurrence of premature wrinkles.
The prevention of the sunburns
Tan without sunburns is healthy and beneficial for the body, which is why you must avoid damaging the skin during exposure to the sun. To prevent burns, follow the tips below:
- Progressive exposure to the sun, the first day very little, and then increasingly more, but never between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Progressive exposure helps the skin become pigmented due to the secretion of melanin, so by pigmentation, the skin becomes more protected for sunburn.
- Avoiding drugs photosensitizing
- Avoid alcoholic beverages before and during exposure to the sun.
- The consumption of 2-3 carrots a few hours before the exposure to the sun. Carrots contain b-carotene, the substance that protects the skin against burns.
- Use protective creams with high protection factor.
- Wear clothes of natural materials (linen, silk, cotton) to cover a large area of the skin (trousers, long-sleeved blouses, hats) especially if you have to come out of the house during noon.
- Every time you step out of the water reapply protective skin.
How to treat sunburns
Treatment at home: This is indicated only in the case of less serious burns, those of first degree. It is recommended to avoid further exposure to the sun (burns can worsen) and to consume adequate fluids (there is the risk of dehydration).
You can use a series of drugs that are designed to relieve pain, general state of fever and skin, such as:
- NSAIDs: ibuprofen, ketoprofen, Aspirin.
- Some sprays with cooling effect and which speed up the healing of burns, while also reducing edema (slight swelling). The treatments of burns higher than the first degree (there are areas with blisters, the areas with burns lose their skin, they get irritated or they get infected, etc.) require the submission of the emergency physician.
Herbal treatments for slight burns: Various treatments may prove to be useful in the case of light burns:
- Moistening the skin with cold milk or yogurt, with mint oil or levanter
- Compresses with chamomile, mint or levanter tea
- Dab the affected area with 70 degrees alcohol
- Mix juice from 3 lemons with two cups of cold water and buffer the affected area. The lemon will cool the burn, will act as a disinfectant and will help the regeneration of the skin.
- Dissolve medical bicarbonate in warm water and apply the solution on the skin. Stay with it applied half an hour, then rinse with warm water.
We wish you to have a tan as beautiful and healthy as you can!