Chapter 21 : Sunburn
Fun in the sun may be all that, but getting burnt is no laughing matter. Not only does it look gross when it starts peeling, but it’s a leading cause of skin cancer and can hurt like hell.
The key is prevention. There is no quick cure for sun burn or sun poisoning so it is best to eschew it entirely. Always use sun cream and reapplying it regularly.
The SPF on a bottle of sun cream stands for Sun Protection Factor. How it works is, in theory, simple. SPF is based on the amount of time it takes your skin to develop a mild redness. If, without sun cream, you develop mild redness after twenty minutes, using SPF 15 will prolong that period to 300 minutes (15 x 20), also known as five hours.
However, in reality this formula is subject to many variables, including time of day and location. It is important that the sun screen you choose covers a “broad spectrum” of rays. Traditionally many creams only protected against UVB rays, not UVA.
Water can also minimize the efficacy of sun screen, even if it says waterproof on the bottle.
Most people neither apply a sufficient amount of cream nor do it often enough. Turn it into a game. Until you have enough sun cream on that you slide of the inflatable ring every time you sit on it, you do not have enough.
A more out-there preventative measure suggests first creating a paste made of tomatoes and then rubbing it over your skin. The idea is that the tomato’s rich nutrients will act as a barrier between UV rays and you.
Okay, so you didn’t listen and now look like a lobster fresh from the pot. There is no quick fix to get rid of sunburn. Fortunately there are ways however to help the healing process, prevent further damage and relief pain. And for God’s sake, if you’re burnt stay out of the sun.
Beyond over the counter treatments, a lot of home remedies have sprung up that people swear by. Although little research has been done into them, it’s worth a try for relieving pain. Common home treatments include applying the following to the affected area:
If burned, remember to continue moisturizing your skin, even as it peels. It may hurt, but your skin will thank you in the long run.
Don’t pick at it. It won’t make it look or feel any better.
Continued long exposure to the sun will give you a lovely tan now, but in ten years you WILL look like an old wrinkly tea bag. You have been warned.