Sunburn: Redheads Beware!
-- Sunburn and Sun Protection --
It’s Important For Redheads!
The SUN - We need the sun to survive because:
-- It emits heat to warm us
-- It gives us light
-- Plants convert sunlight into oxygen
-- Our skin uses sunlight to produce vitamin D
However, sunlight and the radiation it emits also cause many
skin problems: wrinkles, age spots, sunburn, rashes, actinic keratoses, and skin cancers due to overexposure.
Realize that the supposed ‘healthy tan' we seek is actually damaged skin...Why?
Your skin is trying to protect itself from the ultraviolet radiation that is part of sunlight. SO, your body will make more melanin, a dark pigment, so that UV radiation will not penetrate into the deep skin layers and damage them.... so you 'tan'.
Unfortunately, the more sun exposure you get, the higher likelihood of having skin problems as you age. Since redheads have less melanin in their skin and have a hard time tanning for protection, they are at very high risk of skin damage.
....All the more reason to follow a good skin care regimen to help your skin stay healthy.
-- SUNBURN --
Ouch! Hurts thinking about it and we’ve all been there, done that. My redheads got burned a few times, even after trying to prevent it....I felt awful about it and bad for them!
--WHAT IS A SUNBURN?:
Just what is says....it’s a mild 1st-degree burn of the skin. You don’t burn from the sun’s heat like from a stove or fire. The skin burns because of the UV radiation from the sun (or tanning booth) bombarding cells in the skin’s deeper layers. (See skin anatomy for more info on your skin.
We don’t feel that ultraviolet radiation but it’s causing damage. The symptoms show up later after the damage is done – that’s why you might stay out in the sun longer than you should…we don’t notice it. That’s the danger for red heads!
How much sun exposure makes this happen? Your skin type is the answer. For most redheads with very light skin, being in midday sun for 15 minutes could cause a sunburn. Darker skin types can be in the sun a lot longer and burn a bit or tan. It’s all dependent on the melanin levels in your skin.
--SYMPTOMS OF SUNBURN:
Becomes warm, red, and painful that initially shows up about 2-3 hours after the overexposure in the sun. The pain will worsen and reach its peak anywhere between 12 and 48 hours, depending on the situation.
In severe cases there is fever, blistering, swelling, and possibly dehydration. Usually, the damaged top skin layers will flake or peel off about 2-6 days later.
-- HELP FOR A SUNBURN:
Since the skin has already burned, there isn’t a lot you can do except provide comfort and treat the symptoms until the skin heals. (Consult your health care provider for concerns.)
- Can give a baby’s or child’s pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen (not aspirin) - but check with your physician
- Try a cool bath or shower with 2 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in the bath water but don’t use soap
- Put wet cool washcloths over the burned skin
- Drink a lot of fluids
- Sometimes a moisturizer and 1% hydrocortisone cream a few times a day can help relieve pain; check with your doctor
- Some say cooled tea bags on the skin can provide relief
Do NOT use products that contain lidocaine or benzocaine or use petroleum jelly like Vaseline or butter since they can damage the skin more or block pores.
Call the Doctor If:
- There is dizziness, fainting, or fever
- Eyes are very sensitive to sunlight
- Severe pain
- Blisters filled with fluid develop on the sunburned skin.
|-- HEATSTROKE (Sunstroke) --
CLICK HERE TO VIEW MY PAGE ON "HEATSTROKE" -- Know the signs and symptoms of this potentially dangerous condition that can occur when you've been in the sun too long or are overheated!
-- Next Step?...SUN PROTECTION! --
Stay out of the sun when you can. Sit in the shade. You’re not 100% protected, because the rays can reflect off surroundings. Watch out for sunburn from snow and water since they reflect sun rays.
Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from sun damage too. Look for a label that it blocks UVB and UVA up to 99% or more. Darkness of the lens doesn’t guarantee this. Skip sunglasses without UV protection, especially for kids, as plain dark lenses may allow the eye's pupils to dilate and let in more harmful UV radiation. (My redhead's eye doctor said her light-colored blue eyes were more likely to be bothered by sunlight so vital to wear UV-blocking lenses.) Sunglasses also help protect delicate skin around the eyes to prevent wrinkles later.
Wear clothing. A large hat that shades your face and shoulders is great. Regular clothing only has SPF of 5-15 or so and worse if gets wet. Clothing that has a tight weave is better.
Avoid peak hours of sunlight when UV rays are strongest
(10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Check the "Ultraviolet UV Index" website (or your local newspaper’s weather section) to find out how strong the UV rays are that day.
The higher the number, the higher the UV risk:
- 10 and up = very high
- 7-9 = high
- 5-6 = moderate
- 3-4 = low
- 0-2 = minimal
Use a SUNSCREEN of SPF30 or higher. Don’t forget a good Lipbalm for your lips too! Carry it with you everywhere! Reapply often and liberally- read labels. Apply about 2 tablespoons over whole body 1/2 hour before going out. SUNBLOCKS form a physical barrier to reflect the rays, so are a good option as well - some look white and others are clear. Sunblocks work immediately and nice alternative for sensitive skin.
WHAT IS SPF? It stands for "Sun-Protection Factor" and is given in number values 15, 30, 45, 50, and 75 or high -- which tells you how long the sunscreen stays effective on your skin. The higher the SPF number, the more protection.
SUNSCREEN GUIDE -- The Environmental Working Group, a national non-profit, analyzes hundreds of products. Their researchers recommend only a handful of sunscreen products due to concerns about certain chemicals used in them. They issue an annual sunscreen guide, which you can view at: EWG Sunscreen Guide.
Don't do this...Don’t sunbathe and let yourself burn!
Culture says it looks great, but is it worth it the risks?
TANNING BEDS -- new research shows they can be dangerous! According to a 2010 report in 'Lancet Oncology': The risk of melanoma (a deadly skin cancer) increases "75 percent when the use of tanning devices starts before age 30".... plus "consistent evidence" of a link to melanoma of the eye and declared tanning beds to be "carcinogenic to humans." The culprit is the ultraviolet light from the tanning beds and sun lamps (and sun) that the skin absorbs. (from article in 'Parade' 04/25/2010)
WANT THAT SUN-KISSED LOOK? -- use tanning products instead... Some famous celebrities do just that! Have a look at the tanning, sunscreen sections of your stores for various products, such as Fake Bake Bronzing Gel (Kelly Ripa uses this) or check out Sephora's list of products here.....
* * * * * * * * * * * *
.....I read about a cute PHRASE to help you remember these.....
SLIP - SLOP - SLAP - WRAP
SLIP on clothing
SLOP on sunscreen
SLAP on a hat
WRAP on sunglasses
Go to "Skin Anatomy" | See "Skin Cancer" | Go to "Freckles & Melanin"
Go to "UV Radiation" | See "Vitamin D" | See "Heatstroke"
Leave "Sunburn" and go to "Home Page"
Go to "Skin Care Tips" - main page