Sunburns: understanding them, treating them


We have all heard about UV rays. There are actually three types of ultraviolet, designated by the letters A, B and C.  The UVC  are not dangerous because they are blocked by the ozone layer and do not reach us. UVAs , which make up about 95% of all ultraviolet light reaching the earth’s surface, are responsible for most skin cancers and skin aging. Their dangerousness is scientifically proven. And the ultraviolet rays that cause most sunburns are  UVB .

When you buy a sunscreen, make sure it protects against UVA and UVB.  


The body defends itself from the UV rays that strike it by producing melanin. The darker your skin naturally, the more melanin it contains. If you have lighter skin, it will darken with melanin under the effect of the sun – producing the much-sought-after tan.


What happens when the unprotected exposure is too prolonged? Under the effect of rays, histamine and other inflammatory substances are released into the skin, giving it a reddish appearance and making it warm to the touch. These symptoms will fade and reappear a few hours later, this time with pain.
Technically, a sunburn is an actinic erythema, that is to say a burn caused by an exposure of the skin to the rays of the sun. In some cases, this burn may be second-degree and may cause blistering, dehydration, nausea and fever.


That’s it, you have not escaped: you have a sunburn. If you have a high fever, feel confused, dazed, or if your condition deteriorates, consult a doctor without delay. Otherwise, jump into the shower or bath, which you will take in the relatively cool water. Drink a lot of water. To relieve pain, ibuprofen (Advil type) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) should be effective.


There are a host of Grandma’s remedies for treating sunburns. Yogurt, vinegar, baking soda, aloe vera and other calendula oil, homemade solutions abound. If you are more adventurous, perhaps you will find in your fridge or pantry a product that will relieve you.
Those who prefer to rely on specialty products will find in store many creams, often based on hydrocortisone, designed to calm the pain and help the skin to regenerate.
In the case of a mild burn, a thermal water will soothe the discomfort and restore suppleness to the skin.
You should not take sunburn lightly, and most importantly never forget that overexposure can lead to cancer years later. Be vigilant!

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