Raise your hand if this has happened to you. You spend the whole day at the pool having a great time with your family. After a few hours, you start “feeling” your back. You realize you forgot to put on sunscreen. It is not that you “forgot” but you decided not to wear it, hoping that you wouldn’t get sunburned and now you’re wishing you had just put on that greasy lotion in the first place. For the next couple of days your skin is red all over and you are itching everywhere. You are miserable.
You may be one of those who only thinks of wearing sunscreen when heading to the pool or doing an all-day activity like going to the zoo. Even then you may forget. Regardless of whether you do or don’t wear sunscreen, you can get a sunburn even through your clothes.
Any time you are exposed to sunlight you are susceptible to skin damage. Clothes may protect you, but how much protection they offer will depend on the type of clothing. Wearing clothes made of light-colored, lightweight and loosely-woven fabrics opens you up to the possibility of sunburn and skin damage – especially when you are not wearing any sunscreen.
Avoiding Sunburns and Damaged Skin
Living in Arizona, you know how to deal with the heat – go to the mall and use their air conditioning for free!
Beyond that, you wear short sleeves or a tank top with a pair of shorts. You are staying cool but your skin is being exposed to the sun. You’re doing what you have to do to stay cool – and increasing your chances of sunburn.
If you prefer not to wear sunscreen every day, you could wear two layers of clothing which gives you more sun protection. Wearing two layers doesn’t always work, so if you prefer to wear one layer, make sure it’s a thicker material.
For people who work outside, wear a thicker shirt made by a well known outdoor clothing brand. Another option is to purchase SPF rated clothing. It has protection built into the fabric and offers the benefit of sunscreen without the greasy lotion or slimy feel.
How To Treat Sunburns
Even when you do everything right, there is always a chance of getting burned. Are there any tricks or secrets to treating sunburn? While many burns are mild and don’t have a negative impact beyond discomfort, if your skin begins to blister, see a doctor immediately. Blisters are a sign of potential infection.
If you are free of infection, aloe is a great option. There is also Solarcaine and topical treatments; ask your pharmacist about which can help numb the skin and help stop the itch.
In addition, you want to moisturize. There are many products on the market that have both aloe and numbing medication that will both soothe and moisturize. After a few days, your skin will return to normal.
Preventing Long-Term Skin Damage
Of course this can all be prevented. No one wants a sunburn. Beyond applying sunscreen and wearing clothes with SPF, you also want to care for your skin through preventative treatments. Using moisturizers regularly gives your skin the life it needs. There are various brands and types of moisturizers available at your nearest pharmacy designed for different areas of the body – most of the differences are cosmetic, depending upon taste and preference. Find a brand or blend that you like and apply it daily, making your skin stronger.
Always be on the lookout for changes in your skin color or texture. If you notice any changes, immediately schedule a visit with your provider.
Our providers at Warner Family Practice are equipped and trained to assess your skin’s current health and treat whatever conditions you may be experiencing. Practicing preventative care as mentioned in this article is always our preference. When the need for other treatment arises, our facility is prepared with the staff and technology to begin the process of restoring your skin and your health so you can continue to live a long and healthy life.
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