Sunburn is a kind of radiation burn that impacts the tissues of the body, primarily the skin. It is common during the summer season, since most people go to the beach for swimming or mountains for hiking. People who walk under the sun without protection like umbrellas or sun screen lotions may also develop sunburns. The following are the causes, signs and symptoms, and home remedies for sunburn.
Exposure to the sun is the primary cause of sunburns. According to Medical News Today, sunburn is the body’s reaction to the direct damage to the skin DNA. As per the publication, this damage could be from the DNA excitation from the ultraviolet light. The body is capable of detecting that damage, so it activates various defense mechanisms, such as DNA repair to compensate for the damage and higher melanin production to protect the skin from future DNA damage. It is added that melanin, the pigment that gives the brown color to the skin, transforms UV-photons into harmless quantities of heat without stimulating free radical formation. Hence, it serves as a reliable photoprotectant against both direct and indirect DNA damage.
Signs and Symptoms
Sunburn presents a number of signs and symptoms. According to Mayo Clinic, these include pinkness or redness, skin that feels warm or hot to touch, pain, tenderness, itching, swelling, small fluid-filled blisters, fatigue, headache, chills, and even fever if the sunburn is severe. As per the publication, the person should seek medical care if symptoms like pain, tenderness, swelling, presence of pus, and red streaks leading away from the open blister are present, since they indicate infection.
While medications are available as treatment agents for sunburn, home remedies are also available as supplementary management for the skin condition.
Baking soda stands as one of the known home remedies for sunburn. According to Top 10 Home Remedies, the powder provides a soothing effect on the unburned skin, since it has an alkaline nature. In addition, baking soda has antiseptic properties that help alleviate the pruritic or itchy sensation due to the sunburn.
To prepare, as per the publication, the bathtub is filled with cold water. Next, a cup of baking soda is added and is stirred well. Then, the person soaks the affected area in the water for about 15 minutes. After that, he pats the skin dry or allows the body to air dry. This is done once a day until the desired results are achieved. As an alternative, four tablespoons of baking soda is mixed with adequate water to make a paste, which is directly applied on the affected skin with the use of a cotton ball. It is left on for ten minutes, before it is washed with tepid water. The remedy can be done once or twice a day for several days, depending on the severity of the sunburn.
The application of cold is another remedy for sunburn. According to expert Michael Schreiber, as cited by Prevention, the person can use either plain water from the faucet or some ice cubes. Then, a cloth is dipped into the liquid and is applied to the burn. The remedy can be done every few minutes as the cloth warms. The application can be for a total of ten to 15 minutes several times a day.
Another remedy for sunburn is tea. According to Medicine Net, tea has tannic acid which helps draw heat from the sunburnt skin, as well as restore the skin’s pH balance. As per the publication, the person can apply cooled freshly brewed tea to the sunburnt skin area with the use of a clean cloth. Also, mint can be added to provide a more cooling effect.
Prevention is better than cure. According to Top 10 Home Remedies, prevention stands as the best way to avoid sunburn. As per the publication, the person should stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., since the sun is strongest during the time period. Also, wearing protective clothing, such as long sleeves, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat are helpful. Moreover, applying an effective sunscreen to the exposed skin areas are also advisable.
Sunburn does not have the same severity as cancer; however, it may be a contributing factor to developing skin cancer. Thus, medical consult could be done from proper assessment, planning, intervention, health education, and evaluation.