According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 1/3 of adults and 70 percent of children were prone to sunburns last year. Quite often we will be outside unaware of the damage the sun's rays can cause. Summer is a favorite time of the year and we all like to spend it at the beach or enjoying outdoor sports.
In the perspective article I am trying to explain the following:
1) Reason behind sunburn
2) Signs and symptoms of sunburns
3) How to prevent sunburn naturally?
4) The natural ways for sunburn relief
Reasons Behind Sunburns
In the most simple words, when your skin gets exposed to sunlight for a longer period it gets burned, eventually turning red and irritated.
According to the American Cancer Society, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major risk factor for most skin cancers. Sunlight is the main source of UV rays. Tanning lamps and beds are also sources of UV rays. People who get a lot of UV exposure from these sources are at greater risk for skin cancer.
Even though UV rays make up only a very small portion of the sun’s rays, they are the main cause of the sun’s damaging effects on the skin. UV rays damage the DNA of skin cells.
Types of UV Rays
- UVA Rays: They age skin cells and damage DNA. Usually they are linked with long-term skin damage like wrinkles, which we associate with aging, and some types of skin cancers as well. Tanning beds give off large amounts of UVA and can increase the risk of skin cancer.
- UVB Rays: They can damage skin cell's DNA directly and possess more energy when compared to UVA. UVB rays are the main cause of sunburns.
- UVC Rays: Though they have more energy than the other two types of UV rays, they don't get through our atmosphere and, therefore, are not a cause for sunburns or skin cancer.
UV rays are stronger during the spring and summer months, and are strongest between 10am and 4pm. The amount of UV exposure a person gets depends on the strength of the rays, the length of time the skin is exposed, and whether the skin is protected with clothing or sunscreen.
Signs of Sunburn
- Skin turns red
- Burning sensation
- Swelling and inflammation
- Sunburn blisters
- Weakness and dizziness
- Itching and peeling or scaling of skin
If you have fever over 102 degrees associated with burning sensation or blisters consult your doctor immediately.
Prevent Sunburn Naturally
As I already mentioned sun rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm. Sunburns are better prevented than treated.
- If you are unable to stay indoors during this time, pick shady spots or wear sun protective clothing. Use UV blocking sunglasses, long-sleeved cotton shirts, broad-brimmed hats, and try to cover exposed areas of skin with an umbrella.
- Apply coconut oil over your skin after bath. The rich antioxidants and healing properties of coconut oil can help prevent the sun's rays from harming the skin.
- Consume Vitamin-D rich foods such as fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel and salmon, dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals, egg yolk, cod liver oil, and cheese.
- Drink plenty of water, and avoid very hot water for baths and showers (if your skin is photosensitive) to keep your skin properly moisturized and protect it from the sun.
7 Ways to Natural Sunburn Relief
- Compresses - Apply cold compresses to your skin.
- Fenugreek seeds are known for their cooling properties and to cure inflammation and discomfort caused due to sunburns. Boil 2 tbsp. of fenugreek seeds in 2 cups of water. Strain and refrigerate the water for 2 hours. Wash the face or affected part with this water. It will immediately give you a cooling effect and help relieve redness.
- Squeeze aloe vera gel out of the leaves into a bowl. Add a few drops of lemon in the gel. Use your fingers to mix both the ingredients and apply it to the affected area(s). Keep it on for around 20 minutes before washing it off with cold water. This helps in soothing the skin and provides excellent moisture to skin.
- Watermelon purée is an excellent mask to cool down sunburned facial skin.
- Apply organic plain ghee over the affected area. Ghee in Ayurveda is an excellent remedy for pacifying aggravated Pitta. It reduces inflammation and swelling.
- Infuse 1 tsp. of paste of rose petals in to a cup of organic milk. This milk can be applied to affected areas to soothe your skin.
- Applying cucumber juice or tomato juice over your skin at bedtime is soothing to skin.