How to deal with sunburn

As the weather begins to warm and the sun reappears, it can be very tempting to go outside and finally enjoy the comforts of spring. However, as pleasant as the sun’s rays may feel, it’s important to remember that they can be dangerous if you fail to take the proper precautions.

Sunburns look bad, hurt, peel and inflict long-lasting, wrinkle-inducing damage. It can more serious consequences, too – it can increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

In fact, a person’s risk for melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer – doubles if you have five or more sunburns. This statistic is even more troubling when combined with the fact that 42% of people report getting sunburn at least once a year.

If you begin feeling the tale-tell tingling of a burn, or see any sign of skin reddening, get out of the sun and begin treatment. Remember, it can take up to six hours for the symptoms of a sunburn to develop so what may not seem like a big deal now could easily become one later.

After a cool shower or bath, slather on a moisturizing cream or lotion to soothe the skin. Repeat frequently to make peeling and flaking less noticeable, and consider a product containing vitamin C and vitamin E. This could help limit skin damage. It’s okay to use a hydrocortisone cream for a day or two to relieve discomfort, but it’s not okay to scrub, pic, or peel your skin or to break the blisters.

Burns of all natures draw fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body, so you’ll need to drink extra water, juice or sports drinks for a couple of days.

For the most part, you’ll be able to treat your sunburn at home, but if a blistering burn covers 20% or more of your body then you should seek medical attention. Anyone suffering from fevers and chills should also seek medical help.

Following these steps may help reduce the damage of a sunburn, but the best way to combat its dangers remains to avoid burns themselves.