How To Treat A Sunburn

How To Treat A Sunburn

Despite all we’re told about sun protection, more than one-third of adults admit to getting sunburned in the past year. While the immediate symptoms of a sunburn are only temporary, the long-term damage is permanent and can emerge years later. Read on for our guide to caring for sunburned skin – and how you can prevent it from occurring in the first place.

What Causes A Sunburn?

A sunburn is skin damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. When your skin is exposed to UV rays, it releases a pigment called melanin to protect itself. Melanin acts as a natural sunscreen by absorbing the energy from UV rays and redistributing it. However, it can only provide so much protection – if you are spending too much time in the sun, your tan can quickly become a sunburn.

When you sunburn, your body produces chemicals called inflammatory mediatorswhich increase blood flow in the affected area(s). This action produces a sunburn’s characteristic redness, warmth and swelling. While you may immediately notice a pink hue and rise in temperature, it takes up to 24 hours for a sunburn’s full effects to set in. In other words, don’t be surprised if your slight burn becomes lobster-like by day two.

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