A few years ago my brother feel asleep on a sun lounger, he had planned on a 20min nap in the sun, and had put a low factor sunscreen on…. 2 hours later he woke up!! Immediately he knew he had spent too much time in the sun as his skin had that lobster red glow, little did he know how much trouble he was in. By later that evening he had blisters all over his forehead and was in severe pain. He didn’t mean to get sunburn, he had taken precautions, he simply hadn’t realised just how tired he was and a 20 minute nap turned into 2hours in midday sun! We all know the dangers of the sun and how important sunscreen is, but we are human and all make mistakes. Sometimes we get caught no matter how careful we are.
Even if you have protection on, there is always the possibility of spending longer in the sun than planned, although you may not exactly suffer from sunburn, there may be slight redness and inflammation in the skin none the less.
Here are 5 things you need to do if you find you have spent too much time in the sun.
- Keep the skin cool, have a cold shower to cool down but don’t spend too long as it can further dehydrated your skin. Alternatively, you can use a cold compress on the area to take the heat out of the skin. Place a few ice cubes into a bowl with cold water, soak a clean face cloth in the water and apply to the affected area. DO NOT apply ice directly to your skin!
- Use a water based moisturiser as opposed to an oil based moisturiser. Oil base creams can trap heat and make the burn worse. Avoid anything with these ingredients: petroleum, lidocaine or benzocaine. Avene After Sun Repair Lotion is a good one to use.
- If you are in pain take a anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
- 1% hydrocortisone is available over the counter without prescription, this should be used only for 2-3 days only. It will help calm inflammation and soothe sore skin. Sterex Aloe Vera Gel also works well at soothing the area and works as an anti-inflammatory. Keep in the fridge to give extra relief.
- Stay hydrated, drink water at regular intervals throughout the day. Skin that has suffered a burn will draw moisture to it, taking it away from other vital organs so it’s important to replenish water as often as possible.
For information on how to use sunscreen read https://www.akina.ie/blog/the-truth-about-sunscreen/
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