Summer fun routinely involves days spent soaking
up some of the sun’s rays. Relaxing days at
the beach, barbecues in the backyard, or picnics
at the park can make for fun summer activities that
create lasting memories.
While spending time in the great outdoors is a
great way to take advantage of summer weather, it’s
important that revelers take steps to prevent sunburn
when spending days beneath the hot summer sun.
Sunburns may seem temporary, but the Skin Cancer
Foundation notes that sunburn can cause long-lasting
skin damage. In addition, the Foundation notes
that a person’s risk for melanoma, the most dangerous
form of skin cancer, doubles if he or she has had
more than fi ve sunburns.
It can take several hours to notice the full damage
of a sunburn, though some people may notice
mild symptoms of sunburn more quickly than that.
The SCF recommends that people get out of the sun at
the fi rst sign of sunburn, and then take the following
steps to treat their skin:
Cool the skin down quickly
People sitting near cool water, whether it’s the
ocean or a backyard pool, should take a quick dip to
cool their skin. Make this dip quick so your skin is
not further exposed to the sun. After taking a dip,
cover up your skin and get out of the sun, continuing
to cool the skin with a cold compress.
Do not apply ice directly to sunburned skin. Some
people may want to take a cool shower or bath after
suffering a sunburn. While that’s alright, the Foundation
recommends keeping the bath or shower short,
as long baths or showers can dry the skin, and avoiding
Caribbean L 40 ife, June 28–July 4, 2019
harsh soap that can be irritating.
Moisturize skin while it’s still damp
Apply a gentle moisturizing lotion while the skin is
still damp, and continue doing so to affected areas for
a few days. Avoid petroleum- or oil-based ointments,
as they can trap the heat and make burns worse.
Decrease infl ammation
A nonsteroidal anti-infl ammatory like aspirin,
ibuprofen, or naproxen can help sunburned men and
women manage the pain and discomfort associated
with their sunburns. Symptoms such as redness and
swelling may be mitigated with a one-percent overthe
counter cortisone cream applied as directed for
a few days.
Wear the right clothing
Tight clothing can rub up against sunburned skin
and irritate it even further. Until sunburned skin
returns to normal, wear loose, soft, and breathable
clothing to keep irritation to a minimum.
Make a conscious effort to stay
Sunburns draw fl uid to the surface of skin, taking
it away from the rest of the body. So it’s important that
men and women who have suffered a sunburn make a
conscious effort to drink more fl uids until their skin
heals so they can avoid becoming dehydrated.
Report severe sunburns to a
Symptoms of severe sunburn include blistering of
the skin, fever, chills, wooziness, and/or feelings of
confusion. Report such symptoms to a physician immediately,
and avoid popping blisters, as doing so can
lead to infection.
Sunburns can always be avoided. Men, women,
and children planning to spend time in the sun should
take every measure to avoid sunburn, which can produce
long-lasting damage to the skin.
What to do after suffering a sunburn
Applying moisturizer to damp skin can help men and women
reduce irritation resulting from sunburn.
When the weather is
warm, many people
take time to relax at the
beach or poolside. While such
relaxation can provide a welcome
break from busy schedules,
it’s important that men,
women, and children prioritize
protecting their skin when
spending time in the sun.
According to the Skin Cancer
Foundation, basal cell carcinoma
is the most common
form of skin cancer. The American
Cancer Society notes that
each year there are more new
cases of skin cancer in the
United States than the combined
incidences of cancers of
the breast, prostate, lung, and
colon. Despite that prevalence,
many people still engage in
risky behaviors in the name of
outdoor enjoyment. Being safe
in the sun won’t take anything
away from enjoyable outdoor
activities, but exercising such
caution will help summer revelers
reduce their risk for skin
cancer and other conditions:
Know the risks of UV exposure.
Sunlight is needed to
engage vitamin D production
in the body, but too much sun
exposure can do more harm
than good. Ultraviolet, or UV,
rays from the sun and other
sources, such as tanning beds,
are the primary cause of skin
cancer. Exposure also can
lead to sunburns, premature
aging and wrinkling, and eye
Use only broad-spectrum
SPF sunscreen. Look for a
sunblock product that boasts
an SPF of at least 30. The FDA
requires any sunscreen with
an SPF below 15 to carry a
warning that it only protects
against sunburn, not skin
cancer or skin aging. Find a
sunscreen that works against
UVA and UVB rays as well.
UVA rays are mostly responsible
for contributing to skin
cancer and premature aging.
Reapply frequently, especially
when swimming or engaging
in activities that cause sweating.
Know the difference between
Manufacturers are no longer
allowed to claim that their
sunscreens are waterproof
or sweatproof. A sunscreen
may be able to repel water for
a short time, but it should be
reapplied when leaving the
water or when spending long
stretches in the water.
Cover up whenever possible.
It may seem counterintuitive
in hot weather, but
covering up can be benefi cial
to the skin and actually keep
a person cooler. Wear widebrimmed
tops, and light-colored pants.
Some materials are made with
refl ective properties, while
others actually boast their
Summer fun does not need
to be threatened by overexposure
to the sun. By exercising
caution, everyone can spend
quality time in the great outdoors
all summer long.
summer sun safety
Wear light-colored clothing to stay cool and keep skin out of the sun.