Sunburn is inflammation of the skin caused by exposure to the suns ultraviolet rays. The skin turns red, hot and is painful and if seriously affected can blister. Fair skinned individuals are more susceptible.
What are the risks?
Frequent exposure to sunlight breaks down the elastic tissues in the skin and causes wrinkles and premature ageing. it can also cause the appearance of solar keratoses (roughened, red patches of skin) on exposed places, especially in fair-skinned people. Long-term exposure to strong sun increases the risk of skin cancer which is becoming common in this country and can maim or kill.
Effects of the sun on skin
The suns Ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin and stimulate specialized cells to produce more melanin, a protective skin pigment. Melanin in the epidermis causes the skin to look darker, resulting in a suntan. This is often seen as a positive health indicator but in fact the opposite is the case. A sun tan is actually physical evidence of sun damage. Even more seriously the UV rays cause the capillaries under the epidermis to dilate, allowing more blood to flow near the surface and causing the skin to look red. Damage then occurs to the outer layer of the skin.
People from cold climates trying to get a quick suntan in a short timescale are especially at risk. Other people are at risk because their body chemistry is compromised by medicinal treatments or sometimes natural changes such as pregnancy.
It is important to use an over-the-counter sunscreen to protect your skin from becoming sunburnt. Choose a lotion with a sun-protection factor (SPF) rating of 15 to 25.
I recommend a cooling application of Aloe vera blended with lavender essential oil followed at bedtime and in the morning by intensive moisturizing using evening primrose oil or almond oil containing frankincense and Neroli essential oils which will assist with the healing. Increase the intake of water and avoid thre dehydrating effects of alcohol and caffeine until the pain has subsided Do not sunbathe until the redness and tenderness have disappeared.