Virtually every person in the United States has either experienced, or knows someone that has experienced, a sunburn before. A sunburn is not the same as burning your finger on a flame or hot oven. Burning yourself in this manner results in a thermal burn, or a burn caused by heat. And although the sun does give off a substantial amount of heat, a sunburn is not a result of heat, but rather, ultraviolet-B radiation.
Continue reading to learn more about sunburns, what causes them, and how to protect your skin from such damage in the future.
When a person exposes their bare skin to UV radiation, their body’s natural limit to such exposure will be evident in the time it takes for their skin to burn. Once a person’s UV radiation exposure exceeds the skin’s ability to protect itself, it will burn. The degree to which it burns depends on how long the skin is over-exposed. If over-exposed for too long, a person can experience severe sun-poisoning.
When skin burns from sun or ultraviolet-B radiation exposure, it will begin to change in color, texture, and more. The common signs of a sunburn include redness, inflammation, tough or leathery-feeling skin, blisters, peeling, aches, pains, and increased body temperature. These symptoms are a result of the body attempting to repair itself by increasing the blood flow to the capillary bed of the second outermost layer of the body, called the dermis. Inflammatory immune cells are also sent to this area, causing the sensation of pain; the body’s defensive approach to make a person stop whatever it is that’s causing harm. And peeling skin is simply caused by dead or damaged skin cells.
Sun and Skin Protection
Depending on the severity, a person might experience a few or more of these symptoms for a certain length of time. For minor burns, a person may experience discomfort and slight redness of the skin for up to a week, whereas more serious sunburns can take weeks or months to heal with proper care. Sunburns should be treated with aloe gels, skin healing creams, Ibuprofen, and drinking a lot of fresh water.
The use of sun protection creams and sprays are vital products to protect skin from UV exposure. Sunscreen is very affordable and can be purchased at almost any local or convenient store, including grocery stores, drug stores, and more. The most effective method for protecting your skin from UV-radiation damage is to use sunscreen and avoid over-exposure altogether.
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