May 30, 2022 3 min read
There is no such thing as a safe tan. Tanned skin is damaged skin, pure and simple. Melanin is the brown pigment that causes tanning and is the body's way of protecting skin from burning. UV damage causes premature ageing, wrinkles and cancer, particularly in very fair, freckled or delicate Type 1 and Type 2 skin.
If you get too much sun, and particularly if you do not have the protection of a good, high SPF broad spectrum sunscreen, you will get burnt. Most people, particularly those who are not accustomed to living in a hot, sunny climate, will have experienced sunburn at some time in their lives. But how does this happen?
When UV rays damage the skin, blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow and bring in immune cells to try and repair the injury. This causes the redness, swelling and inflammation we associate with a sunburn. The sunburn will eventually heal, but some of the surviving cells will have mutations that escape repair.
If you see your skin start to turn pink in the sun, that means that means it is being injured. If you press your finger against the skin, the amount of damage being done may be indicated by how quickly the area turns from white to pink again. The more rapid the colour change, the more damage is being caused.
Severe cases of sunburn can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, so you should seek medical attention immediately if your skin is blistered or swollen, you have a high temperature with shivers, feel dizzy and sick, have a headache or muscle cramps, or if your baby or young child has sunburn.
To relive the torture of ‘devil’s itch’ start treatment right away
It is easy to get too much sun without even really noticing it, but once you do realise you are sunburnt it is important to begin treating it as soon as possible to relieve the discomfort. The first thing you should do is to get out of the sun, preferably into somewhere cool and shady indoors, and follow these tips:
Elave Skincare and Ovelle ranges of dermatologically-approved free-from natural products are available at gardinerfamilyapothecary.com, Boots, Dunnes Beauty and local pharmacies.
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