How To Treat Sunburn

We have all been in lockdown for months. Spring has become summer and the sun is high in the sky. Even in the blazing heat of an Arizona summer, the temptation to spend time outside can be overwhelming. Your psyche might be longing for the great outdoors, but is your skin ready for the rays after a season of staying inside? The sun doesn’t play favorites. If you are going out for extended periods of sun exposure, Phelps LaClair offers these tips on sunburn prevention, as well as home remedies in the event you do get more sun than you bargained for.

Why do sunburns happen?

Ultraviolet rays (UV) are responsible for sunburns. They are short wavelength radiation from the sun that can even penetrate clouds and reflect off of water and other bright surfaces. Exposure to ultraviolet-B waves can cause sunburn, DNA damage, vision loss, and skin cancer.

The spring and summer seasons are when UV radiation is strongest. This is also the time when people want to be outside enjoying fun activities such as swimming, having barbecues and  playing sports. These are prime times for sunburns, too. But a sunburn can also happen in the winter. So sunburn prevention is necessary year-round.

An Ounce of Prevention

The best way to avoid being torched by the sun is to cover up with clothing. Hats with wide brims are great for keeping the sun off of your face and neck. Baseball caps will only protect your head, leaving most of your face, ears, and neck exposed. You can always tell a golfer by the tan line halfway up his/her forehead!

Long-sleeved, loose fitting tops will keep your arms and shoulders from ultraviolet exposure. Light colored clothing is best because it will help keep you cool. If you are able to sit under an umbrella, so much the better. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

Sunscreen is another preventative measure you can use to ward off the sun’s harmful rays. Take care in reading the ingredients carefully because they can contain harmful as well as helpful chemicals. Look for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These are very effective for screening out ultraviolet rays, and they are naturally occurring elements rather than man-made chemicals.

Treating Sunburns

Despite good intentions and an ounce of prevention, at some point you will probably get sunburned. Depending on the degree of exposure, it can be mild or severe. A severe sunburn will often cause blisters to form on your skin. Resist the temptation to drain the blisters because this could cause an infection. A sunburn that causes blisters may also cause sun poisoning. If you experience nausea, vomiting, chills, fever, or dizziness, seek medical help immediately.

Mild sunburns can be treated at home with aloe vera. You can extract the gel directly from the plant’s leaves and apply it to your skin. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that will soothe as well as hydrate your skin. If you don’t have an aloe vera plant, there are products containing aloe that you can buy at any drug store. Cooling the gel prior to application helps with immediate pain relief.

Another home remedy for sunburn is apple cider vinegar. It has the ability to balance skin pH levels, to decrease inflammation and to relieve irritation. To use it, dilute the vinegar by 50% using water, and then spray it on your skin using a spray bottle. You can reapply it every few hours for continued relief.

As with any burn, applying ice packs or a cold compress will help reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. A mild to moderate sunburn will usually heal in a week.

Enjoy the Sunshine

At Phelps LaClair, we advocate for outdoor activities and exercise as a way of bringing good health and long life to our clients. We are a second-generation estate planning law firm and we recognize the importance of leisure time in helping to create a satisfying, well-balanced lifestyle.

Peace of mind can also contribute to a long, healthy life—a solid estate plan can provide a tremendous amount of peace of mind, knowing that your family is taken care of should anything happen to you. Call us today for a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your needs and desires. Enjoy the sunshine, and remember to bring the sunscreen. Don’t let a sunburn or a poorly designed estate plan interfere with your peace of mind!



Images used under creative commons license (Commerical Use) 06/30/2020   Photo by Shreshth Gupta on Unsplash

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