How Does Sunscreen Really Work?
How does your sunscreen work? The crystalline structure in Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide scatters the UV rays, and also captures electrons from them, converting these electrons into heat and releasing the heat back out of the body. Isn’t this amazing?
UVA (the aging rays) and UVB (the burning rays) are the two types of ultraviolet rays that sunscreen works against, according to Dr. Jennifer Linder, dermatologist in Scottsdale Arizona. She cautions to be sure to check your sunscreen to ensure it protects you from both types. UVA rays damage the collagen in the deeper dermis skin layer and cause aging changes. About 80 to 90% of the aging of skin is due to sun exposure. UVB rays hit the epidermis layer, and attack cells’ nuclei, which can cause skin cancer. The SP numbers on sunscreen tell us about the level of protection from only UVB rays. For example SP 15 protects you from 93% of the UVB rays; SP 30 from 97% and SP 50 from 98% of the rays. Be sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes too.
What’s the Best Remedy for Sunburn?
It can take a full 24 hours after your fun in the sun exposure, to know just how severe your sunburn really is. Then it can take several days for your skin to begin to heal. The full extent of sunburn damage may be experienced years later! Keep Cool: Apply cold compresses — dampen a towel with cool water — and apply it to the affected skin, or take a cool bath with lavender oil. Some people attest that grated or thinly sliced raw potatoes applied like a poultice is the best treatment to soothe sunburn, some say honey and saran wrap, aloe vera gel, others say egg whites works.
Moisturize: Gently spread moisturizing cream, aloe or almond oil to the sunburn. One of our experts explained that saran wrap draws the heat of the burn and therefore it’s wise to change it every 10 min. Avoid products containing alcohol- they can dry out skin even more. Beware of sunburn treatment products with anesthetics, such as benzocaine. They can irritate the skin and they’re not very effective. Benzocaine has been linked to a rare, serious and sometimes deadly condition. Never use benzocaine on children younger than age 2. Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration – a headache may be a symptom of dehydration.
Why It’s Important to Prevent Sunburn
Statistics from the Academy of Dermatology show a dramatic increase in nonmelanoma skin cancer. Young people are at an increased risk of developing this disease. Data show that non-melanoma skin cancer in the United States nearly doubled in only twelve years. Each year the number of new non-melanoma skin cancers is about 4 million![/warning]
Generously apply a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to all exposed skin. “Broad-spectrum” provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Re-apply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating. Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible. Seek shade when appropriate. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade. Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun. This can increase your chance of sunburn. Avoid tanning. Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, consider using a UV-free self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it. Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.
Leave blisters intact. If blisters form, don’t break them. Popping blisters will slow the healing process and increase the risk of infection. If needed, lightly cover blisters with gauze.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. If needed, take anti-inflammatory medication until redness and soreness subside.
Treat peeling skin gently. Peeling skin is simply your body’s way of getting rid of the top layer of damaged skin and can be very itchy. Continual moisturizing with crèmes may prevent this. Wear sunglasses and a hat.[notification type=”alert-warning” close=”false” ]
Consult a Doctor if
- Severe sunburn covers a large portion of your body with blisters
- Sunburn is accompanied by a high fever or severe pain, or if
- Severe sunburn doesn’t begin to improve within a few days
Please note: The Burn Prevention Post provides information for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice or attention of a personal physician or other health care professional. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, but is only for educational purposes.