Sunburn - What to do?

A sunburn (acute photodermatosis) is a burn caused by UV light. Typical symptoms are a reddened and painful, sometimes itchy skin. In severe burns can also form bubbles. We reveal whether home remedies such as quark actually help against sunburn and what options there are for drug treatment. You will also find valuable tips on how to prevent sunburn.

This happens with a sunburn

A sunburn is caused by a too long stay in the sun: It arises when the skin damage caused by the UV light can not be compensated by the body's own repair processes. The UV rays can then penetrate into deeper skin layers and cause the release of inflammatory messengers there. Most sunburns are first-degree burns, and in severe cases second-degree burns may be present.

The treachery of a sunburn is that the symptoms do not immediately noticeable. Frequently, the first symptoms only appear between four and eight hours after sunbathing. The worst are usually twelve to 36 hours after that.

Sunburn and skin cancer

Although sunburn rarely leaves visible traces, our skin remembers every burn. The rays can change the DNA of the skin cells. If the repair mechanism of the skin becomes overtaxed over time, such damage can not be repaired. Then the cells can mutate and form tumors. Particularly dangerous are sunburns in childhood.

In addition to skin cancer, too frequent sunbathing can have other negative consequences. Thus, among other things, the appearance of the skin can worsen and it can lead to increased blackheads and large pores. In addition, the elasticity of the skin subsides, which manifests itself in increased wrinkling.

Redness and pain as typical symptoms

A typical symptom of a sunburn is a very reddened skin, which often hurts with every movement. The skin can also be slightly swollen and itchy. In severe burns, it can also happen that the skin throws bubbles.

If you suffer from severe discomfort or severe blistering, you should consult a doctor. This is also advisable if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • a headache
  • fever
  • chills
  • stiff neck

If babies or toddlers have suffered a sunburn, you should always consult a doctor.

To treat a sunburn

If the first symptoms of sunburn appear, you should respond immediately. In no case should you wait to see if the sunburn is getting worse or if it stays with a little redness. It is recommended to take 1, 000 milligrams of acetylsalicylic acid at the first sign - for example, if you notice the skin is tensing. The active ingredient inhibits the inflammation messengers and can thus prevent an exacerbation of sunburn.

Also recommended are gels or lotions with hydrocortisone, which you get - depending on the dosage - over the counter at the pharmacy. For more severe symptoms such as blistering or fever, consult a doctor. This may prescribe stronger medication if needed.

Quark as a home remedy for sunburn

In case of sunburn, it is important that the skin is sufficiently cooled. This relieves pain and inhibits inflammation. Cool packs from the freezer, however, are not suitable for treatment. Better reach for linen towels that immerse you in cold water.

In addition, take plenty of fluids - preferably water - as the skin is removed from the skin by the sun fluid much.

A popular home remedy for sunburn are compresses with cottage cheese or yogurt. Thanks to their light coolness, they relieve the pain, but unlike hydrocortisone ointments, they have no anti-inflammatory effect. In addition, the bacteria in the dairy products can trigger infections, which is why you should refrain from such home remedies better.

To achieve an anti-inflammatory effect, you can use products with chamomile or aloe vera. However, before using a suitable ointment or cream, test whether you may be allergic to the ingredients.

Prevent a sunburn - 6 tips

With the right behavior and the right sunscreen, you can easily prevent sunburn. For this you should note the following tips:

  1. With sunscreen you can effectively prevent a sunburn. However, it is important that you use enough cream. Which sun protection factor you need depends mainly on the skin type, the intensity of the sunlight and the duration of the sun exposure. Especially during sports in or on the water as well as during a stay in the snow, the SPF should be slightly higher, because the UV light is reflected here particularly strong.
  2. You can protect your skin not only with sunscreen, but also by the right clothes from the sun. Be sure to wear a sunhat in strong sunlight. This not only prevents sunburn, but also other heat damage such as a sunstroke. It is also useful to wear a T-shirt with long or short sleeves and knee-length shorts. Also important is sunglasses with UV protection, which protects our eyes from the harmful rays.
  3. Avoid the midday sun: from noon to 2 pm, better still from 11 am to 3 pm, you should avoid the sun. During this time, the sun is particularly intense and it comes faster to a sunburn. Therefore, enjoy the sun better in the morning or in the late afternoon, when the radiation intensity is slightly lower.
  4. Do not lie in the blazing sun, but rather choose a shady spot. About 50 percent of the solar radiation reaches us also in the shade: So you are a bit slower, but much gentler brown.
  5. If you are taking medicines containing St. John's wort or tetracycline-containing antibiotics, you should avoid sunbathing in the blazing sun: the medication increases the sensitivity to light, which increases the risk of sunburn.
  6. Attention: If it is a bit windy or cloudy, we perceive the intensity of the sun less true. Nevertheless, the radiation intensity of the sun - especially in southern countries - is still very high. So remember to apply sunscreen in those situations as well.

If you burn yourself, you should definitely avoid the sun in the next few days. Sometimes it may take a week or more for a sunburn to be completely gone.

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