Winter is almost over, spring is right around the corner, and so is the summer! If you are going to spend several hours in the sun, it’s better to take the appropriate measures to avoid getting a painful Debby Downer sunburn, and that goes double for kids! So today we wanted to remind you of the importance of being smart about sun exposure, and give you some tips in case an unfortunate sunburn does occur.
What Causes a Sunburn?
Tanning is your skin’s natural way of protecting itself from sunburn, so it works the same way whether you tan outdoors or in a tanning salon. It happens in the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin- where about 5% of the cells are special cells called melanocytes. When exposed to UVB light, melanocytes produce the pinkish colored melanin that is absorbed by the other skin cells. When exposed to UVA light, the melanin reacts and darkens, and that’s your skin’s natural way of protecting itself from getting a sunburn.
So, if we have this amazing natural built-in protection, what causes sunburn? Unfortunately, excessive exposure to UV light does. Getting regularly burned, not tanned, can significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Hence the importance of being smart in the sun and with UV exposure!
What to do If I get Sun burnt?
The easiest way to treat a sunburn is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Wear appropriate protective clothing and apply sunscreen regularly. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad spectrum sunblock –that protects against UVA and UVB rays-, water resistant and with an SPF of 30 or higher. But if it’s too late, here’s what you can do:
- Cool off by lightly applying a cool compress like a wet washcloth to the burned skin. Skip the ice as it can damage your skin or irritate the burn even more. If it’s too painful to use a cool compress, you can also run cool water (but not ice cold) over the burn for 10 or 15 minutes.
- Soothe the sores. Apply some Aloe Vera to help reduce skin inflammation, but skip products that contain alcohol as those may dry out skin even more.
- Taking an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or aspirin may help. If the sunburn is extremely uncomfortable, ask for a topical prescription from your doctor.
- If blisters appear, don’t break them, cover them lightly with gauze instead. If they do break, apply an antibiotic ointment and then cover them with gauze.
- Avoid tight clothing, and remove any tight rings, bracelets or watches if your hands or arms are burned and swollen. You’ll probably be more comfortable in loose clothing.
At Soleil Tans we are proud to offer the latest and greatest in healthy tanning technology. Our tanning beds have electronic ballasts, which are considered safe by experts and provide a natural source of Vitamin D.
We also have the best deals in New Jersey tanning every month to help you get the perfect tan all year round! And if you are very sensitive to the sun or don’t want any UV at all, you can try our sunless tanning alternatives.