Friday, 1 August 2014

Don't let sunburn ruin your holiday

Sunburn not only can be unsightly and painful it can also lead to permanent damage to the skin.

What is sunburn?

Sunburn is skin damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much exposure to UV light can make your skin red and painful. This may later lead to peeling or blistering.
Sources of UV light include:
- tanning beds
- sunlight

Sunburn often occurs when the sun’s rays are intense. However, there is also a risk of getting burned by the sun in other weather conditions. Scarily 2,000 people a year die from malignant melanoma (skin cancer), and the number is increasing.

Don't forget! A study revealed that nine out of 10 women put sun screen on their faces but neglect the rest of their body. If you only do one other area make sure the backs of your hands are covered but do try to look after yourself as you look after the rest of your family.

How to apply sunscreen correctly

No sunscreen, no matter it’s factor 15 or 50, will give the protection it claims unless you use enough of it and if you apply it properly. Ensure that all exposed skin is thoroughly covered in sunscreen. Don't forget to check your sunscreen label, you need UVA & UVB protection.
As a guide, for an average person, this means
· around two teaspoonfuls of sunscreen if you're just covering your head, arms and neck.
· around two tablespoonfuls if you're covering your entire body, while wearing a swimming costume.

Tips for using sunscreen properly

It is important to remember that no sunscreen gives 100% protection against UV rays.

1. Apply to clean, dry skin.

2. Apply plenty of sunscreen and reapply it regularly. Sunscreen can be easily washed, rubbed or sweated off. Sunscreens that claim to be ‘waterproof’ should be reapplied after going in the water.

3. Use sunscreen together with shade and clothing to avoiding getting caught out by sunburn.

4. Don’t be tempted to spend longer in the sun than you would without sunscreen.

5. Do not store sunscreens in very hot places as extreme heat can ruin their protective chemicals.

6. Don’t forget to check the expiry date on your sunscreen as most sunscreens have a shelf life of 2-3 years.

Don't forget! Although skin peels and new skin layers form, some damage may remain. This can increase your risk of skin cancer. So it is important to try to avoid burning in the first place.

What's the best treatment for sunburn?

It's best to keep the skin moisturised with aftersun cream or aqueous calamine cream. Make sure you also drink lots of water to help rehydrate your skin from within. It's important to hydrate the skin from the inside as well as the outside.
Treat your sunburned skin to a homemade facial mask - click on health label to right of this post - you shall see a number of option. A facemask is a great way of moisturising dry skin.

Essential Oils help sunburn

If you are into your essential oils then 10 drops of lavender oil to 50ml water in a pump bottle is a good option. Spray the mixture directly onto sunburned skin.
Take a cool bath to help with sunburn

I know taking a bath doesn’t seem to be the first thing you want to do with sunburn but by adding a few heaping tablespoons of baking soda to cool bath water makes a sunburn-soothing remedy. Just keep your soaking time down to 15 to 20 minutes. If you soak any longer, you risk drying out your skin. Resist the urge to towel off. Instead air-dry, and don't wipe the baking soda off.

Add some aloe vera to help painful sunburn

Aloe vera is well known for being soothing, because it takes the heat out of the skin and keeps it moisturised. This thick, gel-like juice of the aloe vera plant can take the sting and redness out of a sunburn. Aloe vera causes blood vessels to constrict. Buy a cream or aftersun containing aloe vera and keep it in the fridge. That way it'll help to cool your skin down if you're unlucky enough to get burnt. This healing plant juice is available at your health food store (e.g. Holland & Barretts) or pharmacy (e.g. Boots). Or, if you're lucky enough to have an aloe plant in your garden, slice off a leaf and apply the gel directly to the skin.Try: Slotan Aftersun Gel with Aloe Vera for £9.49 from Boots.

Don't go back out there!

Sunburned skin is much more vulnerable to additional burning, so plan on staying out of the sun for at least a few days to avoid further damage to your skin. Don’t forget that when you're outdoors during the day, even when you're in the shade, you are being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. While shade from a tree or an umbrella helps, much of the sunlight your skin is exposed to comes from light reflected off surfaces such as concrete, sand, water, even boat decks. Ultraviolet rays can also penetrate clothing. As much as 50 percent of the sun's damaging rays can get through clothing. So if you're already sunburned, indoors is the best place for you.

No matter which sunburn solution you choose, remember the discomfort your sunburn has caused and make sure that next time you take precautions to avoid overexposure to the sun. Ok, lecture is now over :-)

Don't be afraid of the sun

The best way to top up your vitamin D is from sunlight on our skin. Around 90% of our vitamin D comes from sunlight. Fish is a good source of vitamin D too. As well as osteoporosis, low levels of vitamin D have been linked to a range of serious conditions from heart disease to diabetes? Vitamin D crucial for building strong bones. It's also been show to play an important role in the immune system, in the heart and blood vessels, in the pancreas, in muscle development and strength, and in brain development. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to other common diseases such as colds and flu.

Stay out of the sun, bask in the sun? Confused? I'm not surprised. There is no set optimal vitamin D level or how much we need on a daily basis. The current advice is to regularly spend a few minutes in the middle of the day without sun screen. But then again there's no standard answer. What is obvious though is that the requirement of vitamin D is not an all clear to bake in the sun. Everything in moderation is a sensible way at looking at it.

Sources of above information:

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