[By Alicia Liu]
The sun— some worship it, and for obvious reasons for which without it, nothing would thrive. It’s no wonder that in the past, and till today in some cultures, the date of the June Solstice is still associated with festivals, feasts and celebrations! Yes festivals and some religious holidays during this time of the year are common but it is only in recent times that people have ‘worshipped’ the sun by baking themselves to a crispy golden tan. It can’t be stressed enough that UV exposure causes skin to age quicker, and increases risk of skin cancer! All that is definitely preventable with adequate sunscreen application and staying true to the simplest rule— “No Sun-tanning, period”. But, summer only comes round once a year for some of us and we’re dying to show off a little skin with a dose of healthy colour. The mistake has occurred, we got burned (Literally). Red as a lobster and tender to the touch, here are 5 damage-control-tips to help nurse that sunburn skin, and hopefully reverse some of what those rays seemingly innocent harmful rays have afflicted!
When your skin get burned, you may feel that it starts to get warm and a little pink. These are the early signs where damage has already started to occur. Do not wait, and get out of the sun early, like RIGHT NOW! A sunburn may take up to 4-6 hours before the itch and pain sets in, and if you’re still hanging out in the sun, it means your skin is in real trouble. What I find handy, especially if you’re out enjoying a picnic and can’t find good shelter, is to keep a tightly woven long-sleeved shirt within reach, so that you may slip it on to minimise further exposure while looking for shelter. It may not be a trendsetting look, but it is a good way to prevent burns, if any, from becoming worse. Look out for garments which are infused with sun protection termed Ultraviolet Protection Factor or UPF. Just like the SPF in your sunscreen, clothes with higher UPF means higher protection against harmful UV radiation from the sun. Check out the latest summer line under UNIQLO’s UV Cut Collection, for wise choices that do not compromise on style.
Say No to Ouch
Inflammation of the skin always follows a sunburn. Immediately cool your skin down with a cold wet compress, such as a cold damp cloth or towel. This simple step will help to ease the pain and help reduce further inflammation. Alternatively, slip into a tub of cool water; especially useful for areas which are hard to reach such as the back. Soak and relax for about 20 minutes, then pat dry with a clean towel. Also, as soon as you experience a sunburn, speak to your doctor or pharmacist regarding taking Paracetamol or an NSAID if you have no known drug allergy to these meds. Some doctors recommend taking an NSAID immediately after getting sunburn, and for up to 48 hours. As it is an anti-inflammatory medication, it helps to reduce any swelling, redness and pain. By reducing the inflammation early, this may help prevent and reduce long-term skin damage.
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise
After a sunburn, the skin is depleted of its antioxidants caused by UV radiation. This leads to deterioration of the lipid cells in the outer layers of the skin. The skin’s natural barrier protection is affected and hence moisture loss occurs rapidly. So after you’ve had your cool bath, immediately protect your skin by smoothening on a moisturising cream or lotion. Consider a product containing either Aloe Vera or Vitamin E, both of which has been said to limit skin damage already caused by the harmful sun rays. The Sloane Inc In-The-Nude-Body Milk contains not one but both of these important ingredients, and when used after a shower, instantly works to nourish and lock moisture into the sun induced sensitive skin. This ultra gentle body hydrator is safe for post sunburns and works equally well for children and pregnant women. By jumpstarting the repair mechanism of the skin’s fragile hydrolipid cells, it hastens the rebuilding of your skin’s natural barrier back to normality. Use copious amount and re-apply often so that the skin is as moisturised as possible to nurse your skin right back on track.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Any burn, including sunburns, draws fluid away from your body to the skin surface. This is part of the body’s protective mechanism to protect the skin, but by doing so, it inevitably depletes your body’s water reserve. As water is essential to every part of our body for its natural functions, it’s imperative that you MUST rehydrate after any sunburn. Drink extra water or fresh juices for a couple of days while your sunburn heals, and watch out for signs of dehydration. If you you’ve dry mouth, reduced urination or dizziness, do not hesitate to seek for medical attention. Young children are especially vulnerable, as their body is made up of a larger percentage of water; so seek a doctor if they appear even a little ill. If you are still on your beach holiday, pay the dues of your sunburn folly and abstain from your beers and mojitos as alcohol will dehydrate your system and further depletes its fluid store.
Seek professional advice
Most sunburns can be treated at home but there are ways to hasten the recovery of a flushed, dull looking face to regain your complexion’s natural glow. LED Plus photomodulation is a revolutionary medical breakthrough that’s scientifically proven to be effective for gentle skin renewal which enhances the healing process of the damages inflicted upon your sun scorched skin. This is a non-ablative, non-thermal therapy that reduces the signs of photo-damage and hence skin aging by activating new collagen formation while lessening the breakdown of existing collagen.
“Photomodulation therapy is pain free and suitable for all skin colours to nurse them back to health after excessive sun exposure.” Says Dr Tan Wang Theng, medical consultant with The Sloane Clinic. “One can be treated every other day or even daily post sunburn, and normal activities can be resumed immediately after every session. Remember prevention is better than cure so don’t forget your sunscreen, keep yourself well protected, and enjoy the sun wisely!”