Summertime! Also Sunburn Time, Be Careful.

In First Aid, Health, Prevention, Skin Problems, Travel by Mariana CallejaLeave a Comment

Raise your hand if you hate the sunny weather! Well, there’s gotta be someone out there, right? That person surely isn’t me.

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I am solar powered and I seek for the sun first thing as I open my eyes every morning. In order to function properly I actually need to receive some signs if sunlight or blue skies. it’s just the way I am. Maybe because I grew up in Costa Rica, maybe because I’m a tropical soul, maybe because my DNA code makes my brain wired this way.

No matter what kind of genetic code you’ve got, your body and brain naturally needs sunlight even every once in a while. Even if you live in extreme places where you have to stand six months of daylight and six months of darkness. Adaptation is a wonderful thing, but genetics are what they are.

Summer is almost here for the northern hemisphere, almost gone in the southern and eternally there in the Equator line.

Either way, the sun can be really harmful if we let it, whether it’s summer or winter. We should always prevent massive exposure if we want to keep our skin in good health. Sunburns of any kind can be dangerous, even lethal.

Did you know that the skin has immune, detoxifying and protective functions?

The skin is a wonderful and complex organ. The largest in our body too! It helps cleansing the body from toxins during the night as we sleep or during exercise as we sweat.

It has a massive and awesome set of micro agents that help prevent infections whenever we get bleeding wounds, acting immediately as a team in order to stop bleeding, to clean the area for infectious organisms and to prepare new cells to help the healing process.

The skin is so wonderful that it has special devices that can distinguish between cold and hot temperatures reaching your skin. These devices can even make you react in fraction of seconds when the skin feels the temperatures are extreme.

For example, if you get close to a boiling kettle without noticing, your skin will make the job for sure: it will sense the high temperature right away and will give an urgent order to the brain: “Remove arm NOW!”. And then you do just within seconds in a blink and a quick jump. Isn’t it amazing? The same happens when touching a super cold piece of ice, like those times when you get stuck on a cold and dry surface. Remember that sensation? Quite unique…and weird too. Painful for sure if contact remains for long.

So as you can see, the skin is our main defence and barrier protecting us from the world’s hurtful agents. But fear not! Traveling the world is safe and the skin will do a great work while you can enjoy the views around.

Since the skin is being such a good worker, why not give it a little help in order to stay healthy, hydrated and protected against possible evil attackers?

Follow these simple tips for a healthy skin.

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How to prevent sunburns?

Use sunblock. Any number above 15  PF and with a broad spectrum, protecting you against the different rays there are, such as UVB and UVA. Winter or summer, the sun sends the same rays to the Earth and onto your skin.

Applying sunscreen just once is not enough. The skin absorbs it, water can wash it away and its effect is not permanent after applying. Make sure you apply it several times during your day under the sun.

Wear a hat, cap and/or a piece of clothing that covers yours face and shoulders/neck if possible. Good quality sunglasses to protect the eyes as well, they can get a different kind of burn.

  • If you are into nudist beaches: apply sunscreen on your nipples. Malignant spots can appear here too.

Don’t stay under the sun for long hours, particularly between 10:00am and 3:00pm.

Hydrate. Always drink lots of water when walking out in the sun, whether it’s the beach or high mountain peaks. The skin is working and dehydrating really fast in both cases.

  • Applying body cream every morning doesn’t count.
  • To make it fun and nice: eating watery fruits such as watermelon is a good way of hydrating under the sun.
  • Soft drinks and sugary canned juices doesn’t count as hydration sources either.

Don’t ever pop any blisters or peel the skin. Let it heal in its own natural rhythm. It’s only on your benefit and best interest. Infections can come into these injuries if popped or peeled out.

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How to heal sunburns?

One magical word no matter where in the world you are:

Aloe

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Aloe is a magnificent natural healer which can be found almost anywhere and under any conditions. Is a tough plant, full of water, proteins and many more substances that are good to our bodies. Whenever getting a sunburn, big or small, sunburn or kitchen burn, get an aloe leaf the fastest possible and apply it straight onto the skin. Magic will happen right away!

Hydrate. Drink lots of water, rest and moisturise your skin during several days. The skin is a marvellous organ as I mentioned before, but it’s not Flash. It takes time to heal properly, even more on larger and deeper wounds.

Other tricks to apply on a burnt skin?

Butter and cocoa butter: makes an oily protective layer which will prevent harmful agents to enter the wounded skin, preventing infections as well.

Coconut Oil: same as the butter effect. Plus coconut oil has massively known good qualities for the body. It’s becoming quite popular as you may have noticed. I particularly love it, even for cooking!

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Milk: it has proteins and sugars which can help the skin making a layer where healing reactions will begin.

Ice: helps reduce inflammation which is normally seen or sensed as redness and a very warm sensation on the skin, injured or not. The cold effect will make the skin inflammation guards to cool down and avoid the reaction to be larger than it should be.

  • Take a cool bath.
  • Apply some ice wrapped in a thin piece of fabric, towel or clothing. Never directly on the skin.

Moisturisers of any kind in the end will be good to an injured skin. If there’s bleeding, always look for a doctor or an emergency room right away.

Painkillers. If necessary, depending on the size and depth of the sunburn, you can take painkillers such as 1gr of Paracetamol, 400mg of Ibuprofen or any other of your preference according to your allergies and tolerance to medications. Always good to have some of these on your travel first-aid kit, you’ll never regret it. (Here’s a guide I made for you on how to create a simple and easy first aid kit for travel. Because prevention is the best medicine of all).

I hope these basics in order to prevent and react when having painful sunburns come handy to you and your beloved ones.

Being in the sun it’s certainly not the same as it used to be decades ago. Be smart! The older you will be forever thankful.

Share this post and spread the wisdom. I reckon this is a good one to share. Don’t you?

With love,

Dr. Mariana

 

*Image Credits: Google Images*

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