Sunburn: Meaning, 3 Types, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment
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Have you ever had a burn or felt pain on your skin caused by a burn in that area? This is how a person feels when his/her skin is excessively exposed to the ultraviolet (UV) rays coming from the sun.
These Ultraviolet ray rays are dangerous because of their ability to burn the skin and even cause skin cancer (in some cases). This article will enlighten you on everything you need to know about this class of burn known as Sunburn. So read along!
What is Sunburn?
Sunburn is the hot burning sensation you feel when your skin is excessively exposed to the UV rays coming from the sun. This can affect your skin colour, i.e. if it occurs on fair skin, the skin will be reddish, but if it occurs on dark skin, it will become darker.
Its effect is felt on the part of the body that is mostly exposed to the sun, which are:
- The face
- And feet
It ranges from mild to severe burns, and the pain felt depends on how much it affects the skin.
Types of Sunburn
As was earlier stated, sunburn ranges from mild to severe, and the pain is felt according to the extent to which the skin is affected.
There are three types of sunburn, also called degree of sunburn. They include:
- Sunburn of the First Degree
- Sunburn of the Second Degree
- Sunburn of the Third Degree
Sunburn of the First DegreeSunburn of the First Degree
This is when the first layer of the skin, the Epidermis, is affected. The skin colouration changes from fair to reddish-brown or dark to darkish-brown, depending on the skin tone. Much pain is felt on the affected part, and it forms blisters.
Sunburn of the Second Degree
Just as the name implies, it affects the second layer of the skin, known as the Dermis. Severe pain is felt in the affected region and forms silvery and shiny blisters. And some other times, it is dark and shiny.
Sunburn of the Third Degree
This is one in which the first layer of the skin (the Epidermis) and the second layer of the skin (the Dermis) have been destroyed, and its effect is felt on the third layer of the skin (fatty layer), even reaching to the nerve endings.
No pain is felt when this type of burn occurs because the sensory neurons in the skin, which send an impulse to the brain, are destroyed.
NOTE: Once you notice that your skin is burnt to the third degree, you have to quickly rush to the hospital so that you will receive prompt medical attention to reduce the risk of contracting infectious diseases.
What are the Symptoms of Sunburn?
Symptoms of sunburn that one may see depend on the degree of burn you have. Viz:
Sunburn of the First Degree:
- Forms shiny blisters
- Skin color is changed
- The person may feel dehydrated
- It may also increase the body temperature
- Peeling skin (after some days)
Sunburn of the Second Degree
- Severe pain is felt
- Blisters enlarge, adding to the pain
- Skin colour is deeply affected
- Body temperature is increased
- The person is dehydrated
Symptoms may also include:
The area around the affected part may be itchy, too
Sunburn of the Third Degree
- No feeling of pain
- Skin colour is either white or dark, depending on the skin tone
- The topmost layer of the skin is either rough or thick
- The person may have an open wound, and that wound is prone to disease attack
- The victim will be dehydrated
Prevention of Sunburn
Exposure to the sun can cause cellular damage, resulting in skin cancer, sunburn and other skin-related diseases you must protect yourself against.
Here are some measures you can take to stay safe from sunburn or any other related diseases caused by excessive exposure to the sun.
- Wear protective sunscreen
- Always stay under a shade during the hours of 10 am-4 pm because that is when the UV rays are mostly felt.
- Go under a shade once you notice that your skin is getting burnt
- Always keep your skin cool
- Take a cool bath always; this will help you to reduce your body temperature.
- Visit your dermatologist for an annual skin check.
Treatment of Sunburn
If you notice that your skin is burnt, here are some things you need to do:
- Have a cool bath: Having a cool bath will help you cool off your body temperature and also reduce the risk of increasing the casualty
- Apply creams and gel: Applying a gel or cream whose active ingredient is menthol or camphor will help smoothen the area
- Aloe Vera gel can also serve
- Apply moisturizing cream or lotion on the affected part
- Stay hydrated: Drink cool water or milk to help keep you hydrated and reduce the risk of creating further casualty
- DO NOT POP BLISTERS: if you have a burn on your skin, there is every tendency that the place will swell up or that blisters may occur, and if you pop them, the affected part will be open and prone to disease and infection attack
- Do not scratch (welcome a distraction): sometimes, the burnt area will be itchy; when that happens, try as much as possible to avoid scratching it so that you will not open up the wound.
- Cover any open wound.
It is also important to note that first and second-degree burns sometimes heal independently, but it can take up to three weeks to two months or more before they completely recover. So, the tips mentioned above are what you can do to accelerate the speed at which it is healing.
Also, first and second-degree burns can be treated at home because they are not so severe. But in the case of third-degree sunburn, the victim must be rushed to the hospital, given prompt medical attention, and follow your physician’s instructions for best results.
You can protect yourself from the effect of the Ultraviolet (UV) rays on your skin by staying under the shade or wearing heavy clothing that is capable of shading you from direct sunlight.
If your skin is painful to touch or there is the presence of blisters on your skin, your skin tone has changed, and you are also feeling dehydrated. Know that you have a sunburn.
So kindly follow the listed tips on how to treat it and remember to carry out these instructions under the inspection of a health practitioner.
Thank you for your time. Kindly use the comment section for any of your concerns, and do not forget to subscribe for more good content you will love.