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How to Treat and Prevent Sunburn

The sun warms you, relaxes you, brightens your mood. But get too much, and you could end up with an agonizing burn. You can blame a too-tanned hide on Old Sol's ultraviolet (UV) rays. They destroy cells in the outer layer of your skin and damage tiny blood vessels just below the surface. This produces the redness, swelling, and pain that you normally think of when you hear the word sunburn. While the inflammation subsides with time, a sunburn does have long-term effects. A burn is an injury to your skin, and the damage from it is cumulative. Repeated overexposure to the sun erodes elastic fibers in your skin, causing wrinkles. Even more serious, it could set the stage for skin cancer. Here are some tips that you can consider to adopt to ease your pain.

1. Safeguard Your Skin

To prevent another burn, always wear sunscreen when you head outdoors. It is recommended to have a product with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Apply it hour to 1 hour before you go out so it can soak in, and take it with you so you can reapply it. This goes for waterproof sunscreen too. If you perspire or go in for a swim, some of the sunscreen's effectiveness will be lost. No product is absolutely waterproof.

2. Read The Label

Some ointments intended for sunburn relief contain allergy-causing ingredients. Skin that is inflamed is more susceptible to an allergic reaction. It affects only a small number of people, but when you have sunburn, you don't want to experience an allergic reaction besides. If you are allergic-prone, you may want to ask your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a product.

3. Put It In Neutral

A cold compress helps neutralize sunburn. To make the compress, dip a washcloth or towel in cool tap water, wring it out, and lay it on your skin. As the water evaporates, it has a cooling effect, which helps control the burning and pain. It is recommended a hour application two or three times a day.

4. Wear Added Protection

The proper attire can protect your skin from the sun's UV rays. Tight-knit fabrics work especially well. But be sure to keep your clothing dry. If it is wet, about 50 percent of the UV rays will filter through.

5. Coat It With Cream

One percent hydrocortisone cream, available over the counter, helps to relieve sunburn pain. Use it directly on the affected area three or four times a day. And don't wash it off; just leave it on and keep reapplying it. For added benefit, it is recommended to first apply the cream and then place a cool compress over the top.

6. Bathe With Care

To cleanse sunburned skin, use relatively cool water and a mild hypoallergenic soap such as Cetaphil or Oilatum. Don't scrub your skin or use a washcloth. And if you take a shower, aim the spray away from the affected area.

7. Pop A Pain Reliever

Both ibuprofen and aspirin can ease the pain and inflammation of a mild sunburn. A more severe burn may require a prescription-strength anti-inflammatory or corticosteroid. These can have gastrointestinal side effects, though. Ask your doctor about them.

About The Author:
Raymond Lee Geok Seng is one of the foremost experts in the health and fitness industry and is a writer specializing in body health, muscle development and dieting. Visit http://www.bodyfixes.com for more information.

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