The Happy Chemist

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Summer’s here and we’ve peeled off our winter woollies to bask in the warmth of the sun and enjoy the great outdoors. Is your mood improving along with the weather? And perhaps you even think you look healthier now with a bit of a suntan?

Unfortunately though, sunny days, outdoor activities and exposed skin are a perfect formula for sunburn. So what do you do when you wake up one morning with a tomato-red face and the skin on your legs stretched tight as a rubber band?

Treatment of minor sunburn

Here are a few tips to take the sting out of sunburned skin:

  • Cool down the affected area with cool water and damp cloths.
  • Apply a soothing lotion such as calamine, aloe vera, or a local anaesthetic cream. Avoid heavy salves and butter; using these is an old wives’ tale, and you’ll actually make the burn worse.
  • Take ibuprofen or paracetamol for pain and fever.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol which may dehydrate you further.
  • Avoid repeated exposure to the sun for at least 48-hours.

Blistering heat

The presence of fluid-filled blisters, swelling, and significant pain indicates a first-degree burn.

If blistering has occurred, lightly bandage the area to prevent bursting and infection. If the blisters break, remove fragments of skin and apply a topical antiseptic. Skin may start to peel after four to seven days.

Second-degree burns from severe cases of sunburn can involve dehydration, secondary infection, shock or even death!

If you’re feeling too hot, too cold, a bit squeamish or are actually being sick, then you need to see a doctor. You should also seek medical advice if the sunburn is widespread. Children under 18 months of age with sunburn should always be seen by a doctor.

Talk to us at Clive’s Chemist if you have any concerns about sunburn, and remember to apply sunblock and cover up when outdoors over summer, and stay out of the sun altogether during the hottest part of the day.