How to avoid (or treat) a sunburn?

How to avoid (or treat) a sunburn?

Grimace in front of the mirror, the tip of your nose has turned scarlet. You check from bottom to top if your epidermis has been burned completely or only on the side of the head or tail… You too are very aware of this feeling of “damage, too late” that is common this season.

Because if the sun is good for morale, it must be consumed with moderation and caution. Especially during the summer, at certain latitudes and at certain times, if you don’t want to tear your burned skin. How to protect yourself from painful and dangerous sunburn? 20 minutes it gives you the good reflexes to have and the gestures to avoid.

sunburn for dummies

“After too long exposure to the sun, we see the appearance of redness, like a burn, which can be second degree with skin detachment, bubbles,” explains Marc Perrussel, dermatologist at the University Hospital Center of Rennes. You just have to wait for the pain to pass… and for your skin to heal and the top layer to slough off.

What happened ? “Sunburn is a reaction of the skin to a burn by UV B rays from the sun, summarizes the dermatologist. While UV A rays are responsible for skin aging, UV B rays cause skin cancer. »

The main thing is said: not only do you run the risk of spending several days without supporting the slightest garment on your red and sore shoulder, or not sleeping on your back, but in the longer term you run a special risk of melanoma (skin cancer) . Knowing that the most vulnerable – those with fair skin who tan little, children and those who have burned all their solar capital – must be more vigilant. “In Australia, a study showed that children who had had more than three sunburns had a higher risk of developing melanoma in adults,” continues the dermatologist. Hence the importance of protecting the little ones: “until they are 2 years old, they absolutely should not be exposed. »

the good reflection

Good advice applies to all skin types. “Avoid solar midday, that is, do not go out between noon and 4 in the afternoon, wear protective clothing and regularly apply cream to areas that cannot be protected,” the dermatologist lists. But it is not because we put on cream that we have the right to expose ourselves for four hours. This is just extra protection! “Of course, we will prefer to spread a cream with an index of 50 and without endocrine disruptors on every millimeter of your body (not forgetting your ears and asking for help on your back to avoid “fingerprint” tanning)…” And we paint each two hours. In France, it’s easy as a mnemonic device; I often tell my patients, “It’s every time you eat.”

Illustration of a beautiful sunburn… with the mark of the fingers. – It can go

Additional side to avoid sunburn, do not neglect certain situations. “We often think of the “toast attitude” on the beach, but less of protecting ourselves during meals on the terrace, in the market, on a walk”, continues the vice president of the National Union of Dermatologists-Venereologists (SNDV) .

What if it’s too late? The dermatologist advises “to repair as a burn: we will put fatty substances, to rehydrate and restore the cells burned by the sun. You don’t have to invest in a specific cream, your day or night cream may be enough. If the damage is really significant, some patients can take anti-inflammatories, but only under medical supervision. »

the false good idea

Just because it’s not 40°C doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect yourself. “You have to know that UV rays go through clouds. In Brittany, on a walk under a leaden sky, you can also get sunburned. »

Another cliché to avoid: “When you’re under an umbrella, you’re not sure: the light stops, but the UV rays hit the ground and bounce back,” warns the dermatologist. Hence special attention to the environment in which you will spend your holidays. “UV rays will reflect 35% off snow, 30% off sand, 15% off sea and 5% off grass,” continues our expert.

And it is not only in the middle of winter, when skiing, that you always have to carry your sunscreen with you. “The higher you go in altitude, the more the strength of ultraviolet rays increases: at 2000m, it is as if you are approaching the equator. Especially since UV B rays are dangerous during this summer period, because they are perpendicular in metropolitan France. Finally, the last “trick” that makes our expert jump, are the UV cabins that “prepare your skin for the sun”. “We consume and damage our skin by exposing ourselves more to UV rays that are more harmful in the long term.”

happened to them

Charlotte, 38, agreed to tell us about her “major trauma” from sunburn. It was a weekend in June, when she was 10 years old. Time when she lived in Morocco, in Casablanca. “She was so burned up on the beach that I couldn’t put my panties on to go to school, the elastic hurt too much! I look great in my pajama bottoms, red Waikiki brand shorts, under my skirt. However, I have fair skin, my mother never forgot to put on sunscreen. But that day, the weather was cloudy, the parents had a lot of friends on the beach, I spent the day in the water. In short, the ideal combo to burn. »

Hence the reminder from our dermatologist: the cream is essential, even when the weather is cloudy… “Almost thirty years have passed, continues Charlotte. I still vividly remember that day and the pain the next day. I have never forgotten to put on cream again…”

#avoid #treat #sunburn

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