dangers of sunburn


How to Make Them More Bearable

Let’s face it, when it comes to the summer months and the increased time spent outdoors, hiding from the sun isn’t always easy. Yes, you can apply (and reapply) sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and stay out of the sun during peak UV hours… but sometimes it feels like that doesn’t even cut it!

Although all of the above is recommended, it would be absurd for anyone to think that sunburns are inevitable. These tips are for those of you who have maybe fallen short on checking sunscreen expiration dates, forgetting to set your “reapplication timer”, or maybe, for those of you that are experiencing increased sensitivity to the sun due to your daily prescription medication…

Before we jump into this blog, please note that sunburns are extremely dangerous, and that your risk of melanoma (skin cancer) and premature aging will not diminish with the tips in this blog. This blog is simply to ensure that if you do get a sunburn, that you can be more comfortable as it heels. 


Why is Sun Damage Frowned Upon?

So you’ve heard that sunburns are dangerous, and maybe even know that having as little as 5 sunburns in your lifetime can double your chance of suffering from melanoma (skin cancer) in the future, but now you want to know what it actually does to your skin…

One of the reasons that sunburns, and tanning are so dangerous is because any pigmentation to the skin caused by UV rays is damaging. In fact, any time you get some color whether it be a beautiful bronzed glow, or you end up looking like a ripened tomato… you are damaging both the genetic materials of your skin as well as capillaries (small blood vessels), that affect functions deep beneath the skin. Tied with the fact that your skin is your largest organ, it’s super important to take necessary precautions to protect your skin at all costs!


How to Prevent Future Sunburns?

Although sunny days are beautiful to enjoy, never lose sight of its danger, and protect yourself accordingly. Here are Dr. Shehla Ebrahim’s top tips to prevent sunburns this summer: 


women applying sunscreen

  • Apply and reapply sunscreen as directed on your preferred sunscreen bottle.
  • Avoid purposeful tanning. 
  • Look for expiration dates on your sunscreen.
  • Wear protective clothing such as hats, UV protective shirts, and other forms of loose clothing that will be comfortable on hot days.
  • Speak to your doctor or skin care physician on the effects of your topical and oral medication. For example, many topical acne medications will create skin sensitivity, and limiting sunlight exposure would be recommended. 
  • Avoid long periods of direct contact with the sun during peak UV ray hours. (10:00am-4:00pm)


Ways to Make Summer Sunburns More Bearable

So you know the risks of sunburns, and that the damage is already done once any form of pigmentation alters your natural skin tone,  but you may have stumbled upon this blog as you somehow ended up with one regardless.

To make your sunburn more bearable, here are some things that you can do immediately to speed up your skin’s healing process. 

  • Stay out of the sun.
  • Drink plenty of water to replenish your body from the inside out.
  • Find a cold compress or take a cold shower. 
  • If blisters form on your skin don’t pop them. 
  • If your sunburn is accompanied by a headache, and you are cleared by a healthcare professional to take ibuprofen- you may take as recommended.


When to seek medical help?

At times, a sunburn can be so extreme that you may experience eye pain, dizziness, headaches, fever-like symptoms, nausea and/or vomiting, swelling, or extreme blistering. 

If you are experiencing any, or a combination of these symptoms you may have what is known as sun poisoning. Please reach out to your local emergency healthcare service for immediate help if this is the case for you.


When to speak to a skin care physician? 

Although there is not much a skin care physician can do to help you with a sunburn, if you have a history of sunburns and would like peace of mind knowing the state of your skin’s health, mole mapping is a great way for skin care physicians to identify whether there are areas on your skin that raise concerns of melanoma. 

To learn more about the mole mapping process, and the ins and outs of melanoma, please click here to read about how you can Save Your Skin Through Mole Mapping. 

If, on the other hand, you have heard about mole mapping in the past, and would like to book a virtual consultation with award winning Skin Care Physician Dr. Shehla Ebrahim, please click HERE to book your virtual consultation.