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Sunburn - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Skin is the largest organ is the body and it is exposed to the rays of the sun. The ultraviolet rays of the sun penetrate through the skin and helps in the formation of melanin in the skin. Melanin is the pigment that gives the dark tan to the skin. The higher the melanin in the body, the darker the skin.

Exposure to the sun’s radiation also helps in the formation of vitamin D and warmth to the body.

When the body is exposed to too much ultraviolet rays, it causes a condition called sunburn. Burn due to ultraviolet rays is also caused when the body is exposed to other sources of ultraviolet rays like phototherapy lamps, arc lamps and tanning beds.

Almost all people of all ages, race and sex can get sunburns. The condition is prevalent during all seasons even in winters when the radiation of the sun is low. Number of people suffering from sunburn is more towards the equator and at higher altitudes. Lighter skinned people are more at risk than dark skinned counterparts.

Mild first degree burns are caused due to sunburns. When the condition is serious there may be dehydration, second degree burns and infection. Sunburn can result from exposure to sun due to excessive outdoor activity. The ultraviolet rays pass through the clothes and reach the skin. They can even reach the skin when the clothes are wet.

Sunburn will increase symptoms of diseases like herpes, eczema, dermatitis, and erythematosus. Severe sunburn can also cause melanoma, skin cancer, premature ageing, wrinkling of skin, dehydration, exhaustion and heatstroke.

The condition is not life threatening, however, it can cause a lot of pain. First aid is given to patients who suffer from mild sunburn. When the sunburn is severe, doctors will prescribe steroidal drugs that can relieve pain and inflammation. Hospitalization of patients with sunburn is necessary when the symptoms are severe. In mild cases, they are treated as outpatients and provided with cool baths, showers, anti-inflammatory medications and avoid further sun exposure.

Prevention of sunburn is possible by not exposing oneself from the harmful sun radiations, use of sunscreens while venturing outside and wearing caps and sunglasses. All these preventive measures can help a person to avoid sunburns and also prevent further episodes of sunburns if one has suffered from one.

Sunburn is a condition that is not fatal and can be treated easily. Precautions enable to prevent sunburns and offer protection.

Treatable by medical professional Usually self diagnosable Lab test not required Short-term: resolves within days to weeks Non communicable
Redness in skin Itchiness Inflammed skin Swelling

Popular Health Tips

Causes and symptoms of actinic keratosis

Dermatologist, Bangalore
Causes and symptoms of actinic keratosis
Actinic keratosis is a medical condition in which there is a formation of rough scaly patch on your skin due to excess and prolonged exposure to the sun's rays. It is also known as solar keratosis and is commonly found in the areas of ears, lips, forearms, scalp and neck. They take years to develop and a small percentage of cases can even develop into skin cancer. Read on more to find out all about the different causes and symptoms of actinic keratosis. Causes: The primary cause for actinic keratosis is due to frequent or intense exposure to the UV rays either from the sun or from tanning beds. It has been seen that although people of all ages can be affected by actinic keratosis, people who are above the age of 40, people who live in sunny climates, people who have a history of frequent or intense exposure to the sun or sunburn, people with a history of actinic keratosis and people with a weak immune system are more prone to be affected by actinic keratosis. Symptoms: Actinic keratosis has distinct features and if you have developed such symptoms, then you are more than likely to be suffering from actinic keratosis. Existence of rough, scaly or dry patches of skin concentrated in certain parts of the body. These patches are usually less than 1 inch in diameter. They are usually flat and in some cases can be slightly raised in the form of a bump on the top most layer of the skin. In some instances, however, they can have the form of a hard wart like surface. These bumps or lesions can be pink, red, brown or flesh colored. Intense itching and burning can occur in the affected area. Actinic keratosis occurs primarily in the areas of the body, which have been exposed to the sun's rays the most. These include the face, ears, lips, back of the hands, forearms, scalp and neck. As it is very difficult to differentiate between cancerous and noncancerous spots, it is recommended to consult a doctor and opt for treatment.
4 people found this helpful

UV Rays - Know How They Harm Your Skin!

Dr. Sruthi Gondi 88% (10 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy
Dermatologist, Hyderabad
UV Rays - Know How They Harm Your Skin!
In limited quantities, ultraviolet rays are not only beneficial but also necessary for maintaining proper health. The Vitamin D from the sun s rays can help cure several diseases such as eczema, jaundice and psoriasis. If adequate amounts of sun rays are not received by the body, bone growth gets hampered that can result in osteoporosis and other bone weakness issues. However, if it is received in abundance, its effects can be profusely detrimental to the immune system, eyes and the skin. Since skin tanning and sun-bathing have become increasingly popular among the mass, it is necessary for people to be more aware of the potential risks of sun exposure. "Erythema" or sunburn is a very common condition among fair skinned people, which occurs when the skin absorbs energy from the sun s rays. The system detects it as a harmful, intrusive force and thereby signals for extra blood to reach the affected area and restore the skin. It results in pain, swelling, blistering, itching and peeling of the skin. Not only is it a painful condition, it can also be a precursor to even more harmful diseases. Skin cancer cases are steadily on the rise in the world, with 5 new such cases being reported every week. Due to prolonged exposure to harsh UV rays, the number of damaged cells in the body increases to such an extent that the system cannot mend it anymore. When not controlled, these damaged cells multiply, grow or divide uncontrollably. These cells can also accumulate and form a tumor. Repeated and prolonged exposure to sun rays can also cause premature aging and wrinkling due to the degenerative damages it does to the skin s epidermis. If one is vulnerable to sunburn, it is recommended for them to carry sunscreen at all times. The UV rays are blocked by the deflecting properties of sunscreens, thereby protecting the skin to a large degree. It is recommended for patients to carry umbrellas, or protective clothing to cover themselves up if they are vulnerable to harsh sun s rays in the morning. Although sun exposure can cause several problems to our skin, with proper precautions, one can be assured of safety. Sun exposure can be properly managed if one remembers to make use of these simple tips daily.
2571 people found this helpful

How to Choose the Right Sunscreen for Your Skin Type?

Dr. Meenakshi Jagwani 85% (48 ratings)
Dermatologist, Bangalore
How to Choose the Right Sunscreen for Your Skin Type?
Sunscreens help shield you from the sun's dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays in two ways. Some work by scattering the light, reflecting it away from your body. Others absorb the UV rays before they reach your skin. A few years ago, choosing a good sunscreen meant you just looked for a high sun protection factor (SPF) -- which rates how well the sunscreen protects against one type of cancer-causing UV ray, ultraviolet B (UVB). SPF refers to blockage of UVB rays only. Research soon showed that ultraviolet A rays (UVA) also increase skin cancer risk. While UVA rays don't cause sunburn, they penetrate deeply into skin and cause wrinkles. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that up to 90% of skin changes associated with aging are really caused by a lifetime's exposure to UVA rays. Whether you are heading out to the beach for relaxing day of swimming, or traveling out on the nature trail for a fun day of hiking, sunscreen should be an important part of your day. Follow the instructions contained in this guide to learn how to choose a sunscreen that is right for you. Clearly, you will want a sunscreen with broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum protection for both UVB and UVA. Tips for choosing the right sunscreen: Broad Spectrum: It means the sunscreen protects against UVB and UVA rays and helps prevent skin cancer and sunburn. High UVA protection: Sun's UV rays can be easily prevented, and thus severe kinds of skin troubles can be eliminated. In this case, the product label needs to be checked so that you can get 100% assurance that your skin will be protected against UV rays for sure. Water resistance: Pick a sunscreen which is Water Resistant (effective for up to 40 minutes in water) or Very Water Resistant (effective for up to 80 minutes in water). This means the sunscreen provides protection while swimming or sweating up to the time listed on the label. Even when using a water-resistant sunscreen, you should reapply after getting out of the water or after sweating. Medicated Products: Do not go by the local brands rather you must choose only medicated products. Daily usage: Using sunscreen on a daily basis is a great necessity. In fact, this is one of the most important steps for getting most productive effects. You can apply the cream, especially before going under direct sun. Skin-friendliness: The sunscreen should not contain any toxic elements or chemicals, otherwise your skin will get adversely affected. Different kinds of skin damages can occur such as spots, patches skin allergies or infections if you do not choose the right sunscreen apt for your skin. Correct application of sunscreen: Apply on exposed areas: You should apply sunscreen, especially on those body parts that usually remain exposed towards sun all the time. If you frequently wear bikinis, then you should include legs, thighs, arms, back, face and other areas. Enriched with moisturizers: If the sunscreen is equipped with moisturizers, then your skin will become smoother and soothing effects will be found. Some of the moisturizers consist of organic ingredients that can improve skin quality and texture to a great extent. These moisturizers also provide sufficient nutrients to your skin. Frequent application: If you are willing to get best results and utmost protection from UV rays, then nothing can be the right way-out other the applying the sunscreen on a frequent basis. After every two-hours, you are advised to apply the sunscreen. Wearing sun-protection accessories: Apart from applying the sunscreen lotion, you are advised wearing different kinds of useful sun-protection accessories for getting greater protection. Some of the most prominent accessories are sunglasses, long sleeves, umbrella and others.
4129 people found this helpful

5 Things to Watch Out for Great Skin

Dermatologist, Ghaziabad
5 Things to Watch Out for Great Skin
Healthy skin is a sign of overall good health and vitality. Skin problem is one of the most persistent problems encountered by people. Blessed are the people who enjoy a flawless, radiant and healthy skin throughout their lives. Pollution, stress and unhealthy lifestyle have been affecting mankind like never before. Let us check out what all you need to be careful about for a great skin: 1. Elasticity: One must keep the skin clean and use anti aging products in a timely manner along with a good moisturiser and sunscreen, so that the supple quality and glow is kept intact with a regular cleanse of the collagen, which can be prevented from slipping away due to neglect. This collagen keeps the elasticity of the skin which makes the skin look firm and young. 2. Free Radicals: The particles or molecules that escape from dust, pollution and other such factors in everyday urban living, settle on the skin and clog the pores. It is important to clean the skin every single day and exfoliate at least once a week with a trip to the salon or with a facial scrub at home, so that these can be removed. 3. Prevention: One must clean the skin and use skin care products that prevent premature aging and accumulation of free radicals. Prevention is better than cure and this stands true in the case of skin care as well. 4. UV Rays: The powerful UV rays can hit your skin persistently and cause long term damage and sun spots. In order to lessen the damaging effect, it is important to use protective skin care products that will help in keeping freckles, age spots, brown spots, skin peeling and excessive sunburn and tanning at bay. 5. Skin Problems and Allergies: Bug bites, injuries and other allergies must be taken care of instantly with a visit to the doctor or medicated creams and medication. This will ensure that the delicate texture of the skin does not get marred by possible infection. It is important to look after your skin with a proper routine of cleansing, toning and moisturising.
2787 people found this helpful

Why Wear Sunscreen Every Day? Top Reasons To Wear SPFs Daily!

Dr. Nitin Barde 94% (49 ratings)
MD - Dermatology, MBBS
Dermatologist, Nagpur
Why Wear Sunscreen Every Day? Top Reasons To Wear SPFs Daily!
We all think of sunscreen as something that goes into our vacation kit when heading out on a hike in the hills or to the beach. What we fear is being out in the sun can reduce fairness and/or case a tan, and a sunscreen will help maintain complexion. This is a completely wrong notion. What we need to be aware of is that even the regular, daily sun exposure during driving or going to office can do as much damage if not more. The sunscreen, therefore, assumes a very important role in your daily personal care. Read on and find out more. Relationship with skin cancer: Studies in the US have shown that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and sun exposure is the leading cause of this. It is the regular exposure on a daily basis that cumulatively leads to this, rather than a one-day exposure minus the sunscreen. Using sunscreen on a regular, daily basis provides a good shield against skin cancer. Slows down aging: The dry skin, wrinkles, sun spots, and dark circles on the skin are more a result of unprotected exposure to sun rather than just ageing. The sun is the most powerful agent that can lead to these effects and it is very essential to guard yourself against it. While the general belief is that the sun is less harmful during cloudy days, it is not so. The ultraviolet rays of the sun filter through clouds and cause equal damage as they would during sunny summer days. Studies have shown that these rays which filter through the clouds are capable of continuing their accelerated ageing effects even after you have reached your homes. It is not just the amount of time you are actually out in the sun that counts. The collagen in the skin that gives it the firmness is damaged, leading to sagging and bagging. Using a sunscreen provides a shield against these harmful UV rays. Research has shown a 73% reduction in the invasive forms of skin cancer by using sunscreen on a regular basis. It is popular belief that fair complexion is more affected by sun exposure. It is true that darker complexion has more melanocytes that increase the natural protection, but this does not ensure complete protection against the harmful ultraviolet rays. After reading this, a sunscreen lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more should find its way into your grooming kit.
2725 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

My skin is very oily and tanned and no face wash works on the skin. Which face wash or cream should I use for a fair skin.

Dr. Sandesh Gupta 90% (4120 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma in Venerology & Dermatology (DVD)
Dermatologist, Delhi
There are many options to lighten skin tone including lasers, bleaching creams, and chemical peels. You should have a consultation with a board certified dermatologist to discuss which option is best for you. You have to consider though that no matter which treatment you decide to do that it will not produce a permanent result and that sun avoidance as well as the use of sunscreen (SPF 30 with zinc oxide) is required.  In order for your skin to look attractive and vibrant you need to make healthy lifestyle choices, and a great place to start is with the foods you eat such as including nuts, berries, tender coconut, cheese, avocado, oats, green vegetables, papayas, mangoes, peaches, pineapple, strawberries, squash; yellow, green and red peppers; tomatoes (raw green tomatoes are poison), can notaloupe, apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, dark green leafy veggies, seaweed (including brown seaweed called ecklonia cava. Drink plenty of water. Do meditation and yoga daily.
5 people found this helpful

I had sunburns and acne on my face so I started using clop g cream on my whole face so can I plss get some information on that what are its side effects and do it make my face dark again after leaving it as hydroquinone does.

Dr. Narasimhalu C.R.V. 97% (37320 ratings)
Dermatologist, Chennai
STOP it. On long term medication will cause cancer. Use clear gel at night. Acne or pimples is due to oily skin. Few hormonal changes also causes. Certain food items like ice-cream, chocolate, sweets also increases it. For the treatment of acne or pimples we grade it depends on the type of skin lesions. As the treatment protocol varies depending on the grade. So, I definitely need photos of your face for proper diagnosis and treatment. Do online direct consultation or meet me in my clinic for effective treatment stratergy.
1 person found this helpful

What should I remove tanning from my face and hands. What precautions should I have to remove tanning to get a fairer skin any medicine lotion or cream.

Dr. Sandesh Gupta 90% (4120 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma in Venerology & Dermatology (DVD)
Dermatologist, Delhi
Due to sun exposure, the colour of your exposed body skin gets darker as compared to the covered areas.Certain dietary modifications also helps in reducing sun tan..You should consume carrots.eggs,mangoes,cheese,spinach,tomatoes,apricot,plums and peaches,tender coconut,buttermilk.The food rich in antioxidants will add a natural glow to your skin and the free radicals available in these fight against the harmful sun rays. You may also go for peels and skin polishing to reduce tan. If you wd like to go for a more natural approach, you can try rubbing the slices of lemons, potato, tomatoes, cucumber which are also found to be beneficial in clearing the complexion.You may use suncross lotion in the morning.
1 person found this helpful

Can you suggest how to remove skin tans? I hav used few home remedies bt its nt tht effective.

Dr. Anuj Gupta 89% (537 ratings)
M.D.(A.M.), BAMS
General Physician, Gurgaon
Aloe Vera creams n face wash by forever are very effective n having long lasting results along with some nutrition...okk
1 person found this helpful

Health Quizzes

Why Prevent Your Skin Against Sun Exposure?

Dr. Patil Malini 89% (548 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma in Venerology & Dermatology (DVD)
Dermatologist, Thane
Sun damage happens only during hot, sunny days. True or false? Take this quiz to know more.
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