As an extremely light-skinned person, I get sunburns pretty easily. Having grown up in Portugal, getting sunburned was a reality in my teenage years. Since then I have perfected the art of not getting my skin burned. Now that the weather is getting summery again, I am sharing with you my tips against sunburns!
WHAT IS A SUNBURN?
The simple explanation behind a sunburn lies in its name: it is when the sun causes your skin to get burned. Redness and pain on the skin is usually the first sign of a sunburn. Itchiness, tiny red bumps and the feeling that your skin is getting “pulled at” are also signs you’ve been soaking up the sunrays for too long. Severe sunburns may develop swelling and even extremely painful blisters. When you have a sunburn, you may also feel like you have the flu – feverish, chills and headaches. This is also commonly called heatstroke or sunstroke.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A SUNBURN?
On the outside, the skin starts peeling and gets extremely uncomfortable and itchy, a few days after the sunburn. Under the surface, it’s a whole other story. When we are out and about in the sun, we are also receiving sunrays. Those sunrays consist of ultraviolet lights: UVA and UVB. Both of them cause skin damage, by altering the DNA under the surface of the skin. This not only ages the skin, it can also contribute to the development of skin cancers.
What makes sunburns so bad is that with each one, the skin gets more and more damaged. And that damage isn’t reversible. Once it’s done, it’s done for life! So we better start preventing it, as soon as we can.
5 TIPS AGAINST SUNBURNS
Make SPF your best friend!
I never leave the house without putting some type of SPF on. While I will accept a 30 SPF during the wintertime, once Summer rolls around you will never catch me without wearing SPF 50. The rule of thumb is the darker your skin, the lighter you can go on the SPF. However, I think the minimum should be SPF 30!
Find the shade!
When the sun is at its peak, you’re better off under a tree or a parasol. Or anywhere that is not directly under the sun. And even then, don’t forget your SPF.
Avoid the sun at its peak!
The sun is at it’s strongest between 11 am and 3 pm. That’s when the most damage will be done to the skin, even with SPF. Better leave the beach for when the sun isn’t as strong.
Let’s think about it: for a burn to happen, it needs to…well…burn the moisture off of the skin. While it won’t completely prevent it, keeping your body hydrated will help against sunburns. Moisture comes from within, so keeping hydrated with water is the best way to go. Moisturizing the skin itself obviously also helps!
Last, but definitely not least, cover yourself up. Everyone is always so shocked that I am always wearing a cardigan, even in a 30°C sunny day. Am I hot? Yeah, when it is 30° or more, everyone feels hot, even if they’re naked! But I rather feel a bit hot and have my skin protected from the sun, than run around without being covered and risk getting burned. This is especially important for fair-skinned people that burn really easily, like me. And obviously I am not saying you should go out wearing your parka, a very light cover-up will help prevent the UV lights from penetrating the skin.
These are my 5 tips against sunburns, the ones I use myself on a daily basis. Everyone knows their skin best, but preventing skin damage is something everyone should find time to do. What are your tips for avoiding sunburns?