Did you know that sunburn can have long-term effects on your skin? Sunburn causes red, painful and irritated skin but it also may cause serious consequences like skin cancer and premature aging. Here’s all you need to know about sunburn and how it affects your health.
Who Suffers from Sunburn?
- Anyone can suffer from sunburn. It’s not only the fair skinned, light-haired people who get burned. Even those with dark skin can be burned. However, you are more likely to suffer sunburn if you have less melanin in your skin – the pigment that causes the skin to look tanned.
- Babies and children are at particular risk of sunburn and should be carefully protected from sun exposure.
- You are most likely to get burned when the sun is at its highest and strongest but sunburn can also occur at other times. You can even get burned when the light reflects off snow.
Effects of Sunburn
- Sunburn and repeated exposure to the sun causes photoaging or premature aging. This is when the skin looks older than it actually is because you have lines and wrinkles, dark spots, rough patches, sagging skin, and freckles.
- Experiencing sunburn increases your risk of suffering from skin cancer. If you burn your skin as a child you dramatically increase the chances of getting skin cancer as an adult. People with fair skin that burn easily are most likely to suffer from skin cancers like melanoma, although anyone can be affected when the skin is damaged over a long period of time.
- Sunburn may result in severe infection if the skin is blistered and cracked to allow bacteria to enter. If your sunburn becomes infected you will need medical attention.
- Sunburn can cause eye damage, painful and gritty eyes, cataracts, and snow blindness.
How to Prevent and Treat Sunburn
- Prevention is the only way to avoid these health problems. Avoid over-exposure to the sun and seek the shade when the sun is at its strongest. Wear protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat, plus sunglasses. Apply sunscreen and make sure you continue to reapply throughout the time you are outdoors.
- If your skin is burned, stay out of the sun completely.
- Cool damaged skin with a cool compress or cloth. Moisturize the area to prevent peeling and dryness.