Being in the UAE, you’d know how harsh the sun can get sometimes. The summer months of the UAE are sure to be overly dry, humid and really hot. This is why you need to level up your sun protection game and prevent the UV rays from causing damage to your skin and health.

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Multiple studies have indicated that accumulating sun damaged skin over a long time can lead to skin cancer. So no matter what you’re wearing where you’re going, always remember to protect your skin. If you are in the case where your skin has already been sun-damaged, we’ll go through a few points on how you can treat or manage the condition.

What is Sunburn?

Getting Sunburnt

Sunburn is the result of your skin’s reaction to ultraviolet radiations (UV) that come from the sun. UV rays cannot be seen or felt, unlike sunlight, but that’s no reason why we shouldn’t be aware of it. After being sunburnt by UV rays, you’ll notice your skin will begin to react at least 15 minutes after exposure. You’ll notice this through peeling, flaking skin.

After a few hours, you’ll notice the affected area becoming red. Depend on the severity of the burn; it can take up to days, weeks or even months to heal. If your sunburn becomes too painful to bear, or discolouration turns into swelling, seek medical attention immediately as you will most likely need prescribed medication.

What are the Side Effects of Getting Sunburnt?

Getting Sunburnt
  • Pain – At first, all you’ll notice is that your skin is reacting, but you might not feel it. It will then become sensitive to touch and can even start to irritate you. Over a few hours or days, it may become painful. When touching the burnt skin, you will feel hotness or a burning sensation. This is an indication that it needs to be treated with a hydrating cream or possible with antibiotics.
  • Skin Peeling – This the usually the first sign of sunburnt skin along with skin discolouration. Over time, the affected area will begin to shed dead skin cells. You will feel irritation in the process, but it is important to avoid touching it or peeling the skin yourself. It may cause more problems later.
  • Skin Colouration – This will happen along with skin peeling in the first stages of sunburn. Radiation is responsible for the brown colour in the skin after prolonged sun exposure. UVA rays will hit the lower layers of the epidermis, triggering melanocytes, in turn producing melanin. Melanin is the body’s way of protecting skin from sun damage.
  • Serious Health Complications – Sunburns can be easily self-managed, and full recovery is possible. But if you feel light-headed, difficulty breathing, sudden illness, significant loss of strength or sudden chill, then you need to seek medical attention immediately.

What to do After Getting Sunburnt?

Getting Sunburnt

1. Cool it down as soon as possible

If you can find cold water or cold surfaces that are safe to use, try to put it over the affected area immediately. You can do this with water from the pool, shower or bath. You can also use ice packs. Do not put ice packs or extremely cold objects directly to the affected area as it may stick and tear the skin. By compressing the affected area at first notice, you will decrease the pain as well as reduce the speed of the swelling.

2. Moisturize the affected area

After you have treated the swelling or have noticed the skin is already peeling and flaking, use a moisturizing gel or lotion. This will help to cool down the burnt skin, decrease irritation and sensitivity. There are many types of lotion product that are specifically made to treat sunburns. You can find them at the pharmacy or the local supermarket. Try to avoid moisturizers that contain petroleum or are oil based as they may further aggregate the skin.

3. Drink plenty of water

Be sure to drink plenty of water after and during your sunburn is acting up. Drinking water or fluids during this time will help to replenish the electrolytes in your body. These are essential in helping your skin to recover quicker.

4. See a doctor

If the burns are incredibly severe and the discolouration turns into purple, dark brown or even starts bleeding, see the doctor. If you feel sudden chills, light-headed or notice you’re going pale, see the doctor. Sunburn that has happened numerous times in one person’s life or sunburn that has reached to the deeper layer of the skin can potentially lead to serious health conditions that only doctors can help. This is why we should never take our skin for granted and always to consider using sunblock and covering ourselves when under the sun.

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.