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Don't Get Burned: Summer Skin Tips

Chandler Rollins | May 14, 2014 | 1:22 PM

Don't Get Burned: Summer Skin Tips

Warmer weather means rooftop parties, barbecues, and more outdoor activities. This also means your skin is more susceptible to the sun. A common problem, during spring and summer is sunburn, causing skin to become tender, red and even scaly. 

“Whether you’re at the beach, going for a jog, or playing a round of golf, it’s important to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays,” said board-certified dermatologist Elizabeth S. Martin, MD, FAAD, who maintains a private practice in Hoover, Alabama. “Although sunburn may seem like a temporary condition, it leaves behind long-lasting damage to the skin that increases a person’s risk for getting skin cancer.”

To help prevent sunburn and decrease the risk of skin cancer, Dr. Martin recommends the following tips:

1. Seek shade when appropriate. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, seek shade.

2. Wear protective clothing. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses wherever possible.

3. Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. The sunscreen should have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more, and it should be applied to all exposed skin areas. “Broad spectrum” provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. For maximum protection, reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

To help heal and soothe sunburned skin, Dr. Martin recommends the following tips:

1. Take frequent cool baths or showers to help relieve the pain. As soon as you get out of the bathtub or shower, gently pat yourself dry, but leave a little water on your skin. Then, apply a moisturizer to help trap the water in your skin. This can help ease the dryness.

2. Use a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy to help soothe sunburned skin. If a particular area feels especially uncomfortable, you may want to apply a hydrocortisone cream that you can buy without a prescription. Do not treat sunburn with “-caine” products (such as benzocaine), as these may irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction.

3. Consider taking aspirin or ibuprofen to help reduce any swelling, redness and discomfort.

4. Drink extra water. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body. Drinking extra water when you are sunburned helps prevent dehydration.

5. If your skin blisters, allow the blisters to heal. Blistering skin means you have a second-degree sunburn. You should not pop the blisters, as blisters form to help your skin heal and protect you from infection.

6. Take extra care to protect sunburned skin while it heals. Wear clothing that covers your skin when outdoors. Tightly-woven fabrics work best. When you hold the fabric up to a bright light, you shouldn’t see any light coming through.

 

 

 

1.     Seek shade when appropriate. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, seek shade.

2.     Wear protective clothing. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses wherever possible.

3.     Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. The sunscreen should have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more, and it should be applied to all exposed skin areas. “Broad spectrum” provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. For maximum protection, reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

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