Nobody wants their holidays or day at the beach ruined by sunburn, but thankfully when it does strike it’s not the end of the world. We’re sharing our knowledge of how UV rays and sunburn affect your skin and offering some helpful tips to provide relief and treatment for your damaged skin.
How Sunburn Works
Once you understand how sunburn works, it’s easier to remind yourself how easily it can occur, which hopefully leads you to protect yourself better in future. It all starts with melanin, the pigment in the skin that is tasked with absorbing and neutralising UV rays. Melanin also plays a part in the tanning of skin. As the skin is exposed to more sun, more melanin-producing cells are made and spread across exposed areas. However, if the skin is unprotected by shade or sunscreen, the melanin cannot provide protection fast enough to beat the rays and burning can occur. It’s like continuing to fill a bath while the water drains out slowly. If one was wearing sunscreen, the skin would not be under as much pressure to diffuse the rays as quickly, reducing the risk of burn.
Why you Should Moisturise After Sunburn
No-one likes dry flaky skin or the discomfort that comes with sunburn, but you must deal with it quickly once it occurs. Once sunburnt, staying out of the sun after the fact isn’t enough to aid the skin’s healing process, especially if you are part of an older age group with lower elasticity in your skin.
Your outer skin layer is in part made up of dead skin cells that are bound by fatty acids. This layer helps keep in moisture and anti-oxidants and this outer layer is the first thing to go when burning occurs. To make up for this loss of moisture, the skin needs humectants. This fancy word refers to a substance that can moisturise an area while also removing oxygen. This combination allows the skin to repair without oxidation occurring and the breakdown of cells.
Seaweed for Sunburn
One form of natural humectant is seaweed and algae.
Seaweed contains natural anti-ageing and anti-cellulite properties. It can improve suppleness and the elasticity of skin. It stimulates the renewal of damaged skin cells, detoxifies, cleanses and tones while naturally moisturising the skin.
Even when you are not treating sunburn, using seaweed-based moisturisers such as VOYA Me Time on the face and Softly Does it on the body, can assist in combatting the everyday ageing of skin. This is because seaweeds contain algal polyphenols & carotenoids which have been proven to be powerful antioxidants.
Spritz the Sunburn
To soothe your discomfort during sunburn you can wrap up frozen peas, ice or anything from the freezer in a towel and hold it against the area. Do not apply the frozen compress directly to the skin as this can lead to further irritation. If you are taking a cold shower, or pouring water on yourself or jumping into a cold plunge pool at the beach return to the shade quickly as the sun’s rays are magnified through water.
A refreshing relief against sunburn can be to spritz yourself and feel the cool spray against irritated skin. If you were to spray VOYA’s Ritzy Spritzy before applying a moisturiser or aftersun, you can lock-in glycerine, one of the healing humectants of the spritz against your skin for longer.
Act Fast with an Anti-Inflammatory
Taking a (non-steroid) anti-inflammatory tablet can help you deal with the pain of more severe sunburn and reduce the visual inflammation around the irritated area. It’s also ideal to wear loose fitting clothes over your sunburn and avoid wearing synthetic materials that may cause a scratchy sensation against the burn.
Know the UV Index
Prevention is better than cure and staying smart in the sun goes a long away to stop something like sunburn ruining your holiday. We’re all in the habit of checking the temperatures before we go on holidays, but getting into the habit of knowing the UV Index before you step out into the sun, is the essential information. UV stands for ultraviolet and refers to the type of radiation that comes from the sun’s rays. The higher the index on a given day, the more protection your skin needs. The index runs from 0 upwards, with 0-2 causing almost no burns, 3-4 causing a weak amount of burns, 5-6 a moderate amount and 7-11 causing strong burns at quick speeds. You can check the UV Index for your holiday or time in your garden on a sweltering day here.
On days when the index is above level three it’s important to limit sun exposure between the hours of 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.
Skin Cancer Awareness
Despite our unpredictable climate that doesn’t always dish out the heat evenly, there are still more than 10,000 new cases of skin cancer diagnosed in Ireland each year and most of these are caused my harmful UV rays from the sun. Read our blog post on How to Detect and Prevent Skin Cancer to help you stay healthy and the best skincare choices in your mind when it comes to the summer months.
In this article, you will also learn about VOYA’s Wellness for Cancer Accreditation and how we are bringing the benefits of spa to guests who are survivors or who are currently undergoing cancer treatment.