Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Prevention: Wear large hats and loose long sleeve clothing. Apply sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection. The FDA has just announced regulations that will require protective sunscreen to say "broad spectrum" on the label to show it protects against both types of rays. Also look for the words "water resistant" and a statement about the amount of minutes the product is resistant. The old labels that claimed waterproof or sweat proof just didn't hold up. Choose a sun protection factor (SPF) of 25 or more but understand that anything over 50 has not been proven to be of higher value. Finally, even high SPF sunscreens will not protect you from dangerous burns. The amount of time you can spend in the sun is incremental and sunscreen must be reapplied frequently.
Babies and toddlers cannot tolerate sun. (think of their soft, soft skin) It kills me to see kids in strollers with sun beating down on them. Little ones need shade and protection.
Treatment: Severe cases of sunburn are really sun poisoning. If you have chills and large water blistering you have serious skin damage. Even mild sunburn results in skin redness and irritation. Peak effects of sunburn are noted at about 12-24 hours after exposure. Severe pain, blistering, nausea, vomiting or fainting require medical attention.
For mild sunburn, cool compresses will help on the area. Blisters are a sign of a 2nd degree sunburn and raw dermis is underneath the blister. Avoid popping blisters or rubbing the skin. Aloe based lotions can cool the skin and help healing. Aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications and drinking lots of fluid will help with pain.
slideshow shows the damage to the skin from sun exposure.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 8:11 AM