How to treat sun-damaged skin

How to treat sun-damaged skin

With skin cancers accounting for around 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers in Australia, melanoma is now the third most common cancer in the country.

Both UVA and UVB radiation contribute to sunburn, but the skin reacts differently to each type.

UVA rays penetrate into the deeper skin layers, which is where DNA damage can occur. UVB rays are responsible for a suntan as well as sunburn, and promote premature skin ageing. UVB affects the surface skin layer and when irritated, the skin’s reaction is to dilate the blood vessels, which causes fluid leakage and inflammation. This is what we see as sunburn.

We get it that you may be trying your best to keep protected from the sun and yet sunburn is still sometimes unavoidable. So, to help with recovery next time you’ve had a little too much sun, here’s what you should do:

  • Maintain your intake of water. If your skin is dehydrated the likelihood is that you are too. If the sunburn is really bad, there’s also the chance of suffering from sunstroke, so ensuring you keep up your fluids is paramount
  • Try cooling your body down in a cool shower to help alleviate pain
  • Avoid using soaps or anything that might irritate the skin
  • Use soothing products for immediate relief such as Key Sun Aftersun Lotion
  • If necessary, over the counter pain relief can be used to help with the inflammation
  • Avoid wearing figure hugging clothing
  • Do not pop the skin if it has begun to blister. Consult your doctor if you are concerned, to ensure the blisters are appropriately treated to avoid infection
  • The skin’s natural healing process involves peeling, so while there are no products which will stop this from happening, you can apply a gentle (non petroleum or oil based) moisturiser, to keep the skin hydrated and promote healing
  • Do not pick peeling skin. Sometimes the new skin underneath is not ready to be exposed and you can cause deeper damage by pulling the old skin off too soon
  • While sunburned, avoid the sun at all costs

Repeated sunburn not only damages the skin’s surface and can leave you with visual sunspots and wrinkles, but once the DNA damage has occurred, it is impossible to reverse, which can lead to deadly melanoma and skin cancer.

So, remember to stay out of direct sunlight during peak periods of the day (11am-3pm) and always wear an SPF 50+ Sunscreen along with protective clothing such as hat and rash vest.