Sunburns are actually considered first-degree burns, and you’re fooling yourself if you think getting burnt every summer is a normal and safe seasonal occurrence. Sunburns are not only painful, look unattractive and inflict long-lasting wrinkle-inducing damage, but they are also dangerous and can cause life-threatening problems down the line. They are especially dangerous for children, as their young skin is fragile and cannot handle the damage.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, each time you experience a sunburn that blisters your skin, your risk of developing melanoma doubles. If a blister occurs on 20 percent or more of the body, such as a child’s entire back, it is imperative to seek medical attention, or if the sunburned person begins to experience fevers and chills. Even during the winter, even if it’s cloudy out, you need to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 protection. The optimal times to apply sunscreen and cover up with clothes and hats are between the hours of 10am and 4pm, when the sun is at its highest. Sunburn is caused by the ultraviolet rays (UV) emitted in three different types of wavelengths by the sun, UVA, UVB, and UVC. Tanning lamps can also emit harmful wavelengths that damage the skin’s cells and cause both long and short term damage. The pain from sunburn damage can last anywhere from 12 to 24 hours after initial exposure.
It is important to act quickly once you realize you’ve been sunburn by applying moisturizing cream after a cool bath or shower. Also seek out products that contain vitamin C and E to replenish nutrients that were lost and never scrub, pick or peel skin or break blisters that may form. Don’t wait to medicate either, for yourself or for your child. Ibuprofen, such as Advil, cuts back the swelling and redness that happens as a reaction to the damage.