Many of us strive for that perfect tan. The kind that lasts well into the winter and makes your peers jealous. Unfortunately, while some do actually achieve that perfect shade of brown, others will end up a shade between The Pink Panther and Mr. Krabs. However, Sunburn is no joke, with over 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer treated each year, it’s important to know when, and how to handle sunburn when it goes too far.
When you should see a doctor
When pain is severe
It’s common to feel discomfort after getting sunburnt. Plastic chairs and rough t-shirts are your worst enemy. It is important however, to recognize when the amount of pain you’re feeling is abnormal. If aloe vera or cold water doesn’t relieve some of the pain, it might be time to see a doctor.
When the blistering is severe
It’s never a good idea to leave blisters untreated, especially if they’re severe. Blisters can create open sores and can in turn become infected. Blisters can also become even more painful if not treated. A trip to the doctor will help relieve the pain and they will provide a safe way to remedy your issue.
If you feel dizzy or nauseous
Severe sunburn can also lead to two other sun-related ailments, sun poisoning and sunstroke. Both can be identified in symptoms like confusion, headaches, dizziness, and nausea. If not treated, these issues can be deadly, so it’s important to cool your body down immediately and to see a doctor if the symptoms persist.
Ways to prevent sunburn
There’s a common myth that the higher the SPF (sun protection factor) is, the more it will prevent sunburn. While this is technically true, studies have shown that there’s virtually no difference between SPF 30, and anything higher. While SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UV rays, higher forms of sunscreen only block a fraction of a percent more.
It may sound like a no-brainer, but many refuse to spend some time inside and/or in the shade. Extended periods of time in the sun, even with sunscreen, can cause severe sunburn and even skin cancer. Bring an umbrella to provide shade, even if it’s cloudy. Sunburn can still occur on a cloudy day despite popular belief.
Avoid Tanning Beds
Even in the winter it’s possible to get sunburn, and tanning beds are the main cause of winter sunburn. Using indoor tanning beds before age 35 can increase your risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 59 percent; the risk increases with each use.
Too Much Sun = No Fun
We know you love spending the summer months outside soaking up the rays, but safety should be the number one priority. If you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time, make sure to have proper shade and sunscreen. Your health will always be much more important than that perfect tan. A healthy body always trumps a crispy body.