Many individuals old and young suffer from burns caused by the sun, commonly called: sunburn. Sunburn is an inflammation of the skin caused by overexposure to the ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Individuals can experience a similar burn when they use a sunlamp for too long. Your eyes can also become damaged by too much UV radiation. Being in the sun can damage your skin as well as your eyes, so it is important to understand what sunburn is and how to prevent getting it.
Sunburn can cause permanent damage to our body when we receive sunburn early in life as it increases our risk for skin cancer later in life. Repeated overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can also scar your skin, cause freckles, dry out your skin, and cause premature wrinkling of the skin. Overexposure to ultraviolet rays can also increase the risk for developing eye cataracts or for developing macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness.
Burns caused by the sun and by sunlamps are from the UV light in the radiation energy emitted by both of these sources. The sun discharges three different types of UV radiation: ultraviolet A (UV-A), and ultraviolet B (UV-B), and also ultraviolet C (UV-C). The only two that penetrate the earth’s upper atmosphere are the UV-A, and UV-B rays so we do not have to worry about the UV-C rays.
Studies suggest that both UV-A and UV-B are both capable of damaging your skin.
Tanning lamps produce both UV-A and UV-B rays. These rays though are artificial. Although artificial they still affect your skin in the same way as the sun’s rays.
The sun’s rays are most dangerous between the hours of 10a and 3p), especially in the late spring and during the summer and also in the early fall. You can still receive sun damage to skin even in the winter because the sun’s rays are still present year round, just not as strong.
Symptoms of Sunburn:
The skin becomes reddened, feels tender and hot to the touch. If you touch or rub the skin it is painful. Sunburn can cause dehydration due to the heat of sunburn.
Skin that is sunburned can peel, blister, and peel. Some individuals may also develop welts or rashes on the sunburned skin.
You can have mild sunburn, moderate sunburn or severe sunburn.
The severity of the sunburn can depend on several factors including your skin type, the length of time spent in the sun, the location, and the altitude of exposure.
It is also possible for certain skin preparations being used by the individual to have an impact on the severity of the burn.
You can prevent sunburn by limiting the time you spend in the sun, and by avoiding the worst hours (10a – 3p).
You can prevent sunburn by wearing protective clothing such as a broad-brimmed hat, long pants, and shirts with long sleeves.
It is important to know that you can still get sunburn on a cloudy day.
Water and sand can reflect the sun’s rays so spending a lot of time on either of these surfaces increases your risk for sunburn.
Use a protective sunscreen to help minimize your exposure to UV rays. Use at least a SPF 15 and those with light skin should use a higher SPF. Read the label to know when to reapply and how long to apply it before exposure to the sun.