What Is Sunburn? Causes of Rash, Swelling, Pictures and How to Prevent

What is sunburn? What causes sunburn? Get insights on the meaning of sunburn and sunburn rash. You will also learn more on the sunburn causes, signs, first aid measures, how to prevent and different pictures.

What Is Sunburn?

what causes sunburn

What is sunburn – Picture

Sunburn is a skin inflammation caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiations from the sun for a period of time. When you expose your skin on the sun for a long time especially from 10am to 12pm, you may be subjecting your skin to harmful suns burning rays.

The sun emits three wavelengths of ultraviolet rays: the UVA, UVB and UVC. The most that affects the living tissues such as the skin includes the UVA and UVB radiations. UVC radiations does not have effects since it does not reach the earth surface.

It is not only necessary to develop sunburns on a hot sunny days. You can also be affected on a cool or cloudy weather as long as the large percentage of the ultraviolet rays passes through the clouds. Different objects or surfaces such as the clouds, water and sand can reflect the harmful rays to your skin to cause sunburn.

You may be exposing your skin on the sun thinking that you will develop a protective tan but you end up exposing it to ultraviolet rays. A suntan is your body’s self-defense mechanism that helps in protecting the skin.

This depends with the type of your skin, genetic composition, the sun intensity and the duration you spend out to the sun. Some people may not develop enough melanin to protect the skin from harmful solar radiations.

Light and hypersensitive skins are likely to develop sunburns than darker skin when overexposed to the sun. Ultraviolet rays causes such skins to burn causing swellings, redness and pain. This process is gradual, you may not feel the pain immediately.

The skin may start by being cool and then develops inflammations later. You need to get sunburn treatment immediately after the first signs. The duration on how long does sunburn last depends on the damage caused.

However, according to WebMD, sunburn is the most sign showing that you are overexposing yourself to the sun but other sun damages are invisible and may have long term side effects to your skin. The ultraviolet rays can penetrate your skin to cause alteration of your DNA.

When your body DNA is damaged, you are at risk of developing skin cancer and other skin complications including melanoma. Repeatedly overexposure to the sun can also cause permanent symptoms of sunburn such as skin wrinkles, dryness freckles and scars.

What Causes Sunburn?

What is sunburn causes? It is caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun and other artificial sources such as tanning lamps, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation or welding arcs. It occurs when you expose yourself on the sun or other artificial sources for a prolonged period of time.

The body produces melanin that protect the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. It also gives the skin the dark color. However, some people produces less melanin and hence they may be at risk of getting sunburns when overexposed to the sun or other sources that produces ultraviolet rays.

Less exposure to ultraviolet rays may only cause a suntan while overexposure may cause life threatening complications. The ultraviolet rays are the main cause of cancerous tumors on the skin according to Wikipedia. It is recommended to wear protective clotting’s and sunscreens when going out for a long time. They help to prevent the skin from sunburn and other types of skin problems caused by the UV rays.

Sunburn is a common skin condition that affect many people. According to CDC, a research done in United States showed that an approximate of 50% of adults between the ages of 18 to 29 have at least encountered a sunburn in their life.

Sunburns can occur to any part of the body that is exposed to the ultraviolet radiations. In most cases it affects the forehead, legs, back, nose, cheeks and hands. Some people may also have sunburned lips especially young children.

Can Sunburn Cause Swelling

can sunburn cause swelling

what causes sunburn

Swelling is a common problem that may occur after a sunburn. In most cases it occurs on the feet. The swelling can be mild or serious. There different conditions that can cause swelling. Some may be mild swellings whiles others may be severe and life threatening. You are supposed to visit your doctor to determine the specific cause of the swellings on your body.

If the swelling occurs immediately after the sunburn, then it may be a result of inflammations of your body as the healing process continues. A sunburn causes first degree of burn to your body. This may cause inflammations and pains which affects the expanded blood capillaries on the affected area. This process causes swellings that disappears on their own after some time.

Not all swelling are caused by sunburn. You are supposed to consult your doctor to determine the exact cause of the swelling. There are other conditions that may cause swellings of the feet and other parts of the body. A condition like lymphedema may also cause swelling of the feet.

What Is Sunburn Rash

Sunburn rash is a skin reaction to UVA and UVB rays. Like what is sunburn and sun poisoning, a sunburn rash occurs when you expose yourself to ultraviolet rays from the sun and other sources. A sunburn rash is characterized by small and itchy red bumps on the skin.

If you are affected with sunburn rash you may also experience other symptoms such as sunburn rash bumps, blisters, chills, dizziness and headache. This symptoms may be mild or severe depending with the severity of the sun damage. Lighter and hypersensitive skins are more likely to suffer from sunburn rash than darker skins when exposed to ultraviolet rays.

You are likely to develop sunburn rash from unprotected sun exposure. Apply sunscreens every time you go out on sunny days. Limit yourself from the sun especially when taking skin lightening medications. They make your skin to become sensitive to ultraviolet rays.

Exposing your skin to the sun on ground elevations also increases your chances of getting a rash. Visit your doctor for sunburn rash treatment in case the effect is intense. There is also other ways on how to get rid of sunburns and sunburn rashes by applying home remedy treatments for sunburn.

How to Prevent Sunburn

The risk of getting sunburnt is higher between 10am and 2pm when the sun rays are very intense. When you overexpose yourself to the sun during this time, you are likely to get a sunburn and other skin problems like skin cancer. During this time the UVA and UVB rays are intense to cause harmful effects to your skin.

You are also not supposed to estimate the intensity of the sun by the weather condition. The ultraviolet rays can still pass through light clouds. Other objects and surfaces such as the snow can reflect the UV rays to cause sunburn on your skin. You are supposed to observe the following measures to prevent the sunburn:

  • Limit your exposure to the sun especially when the sun intensity is strong. You may stay indoors or outside in the shade.
  • Ensure that you apply enough amount of sunscreen before going out for an event on a sunny day. You have to carry some and reapply after every two hours if you have to spend the whole day outside. Buy sunscreen that has high sun protection factor [SPF]. The SPF should always be of 50 for best protection.
  • Wear protective clotting’s such as long sleeved and a hat. You are also supposed to protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses when going out.

Take good care of your young children. Their young skin is still delicate and it can easily be damaged by the sun. You should minimize the time they spend out on the sun.

Sunburn First Aid

Immediately you discovers the first signs and symptoms of sunburn, you should perform a first aid on the affected area or the whole skin. The signs and symptoms may appear after a few hours of exposure to intense sun rays. You may be asking yourself what is sunburn symptoms, they include inflammations, redness, swellings, chills, nausea, headache and sometimes blistering

The following first aid measures helps to reduce the severity of the sunburn according to Mayoclinic:

  • A cool compress. Place a towel in a cold tap water and place over the affected area. Repeat the procedure 5 times or more until it cools. Instead of a cool compress you may also take a cold shower or bath. It helps to soothe the body.
  • Take an over the counter painkillers to relieve the pain and the inflammations.
  • Apply on the affected area an Aloe Vera gel. It helps to soothe the skin.
  • Apply on the affected area topical anesthetic. You may use benzocaine.
  • Apply a skin moisturizer on the skin.
  • Avoid exposing yourself to the sun or use protective clotting’s while going out.

In case the symptoms persists after performing the first aid measures, visit your dermatologist for medication. Alternatively you may try home remedies for sunburns using some of natural resources within your locality.

Signs of Sunburn on Lips

sunburned skin

skin peeling due to sunburn

What is sunburn on lips? What are the signs? Exposing or basking on the sun too much causes the lips to be damaged by ultraviolet rays. Unlike to the skin, lips becomes more burned because they are not covered or protected as compared to the skin.

Overexposure to the sun causes the lips to dry and form cracks that may cause bleeding. They may become itchy and inflamed. Young children are more prone to sunburn on lips as compared to adults. Their lips are formed by soft tissues that are not fully developed. This is the major reason why more children have bleeding lips after spending more playing outside.

Lips are part of the body that is exposed. Almost everybody you meet with will discover that you have a problem with your lips after a sunburn. You will notice the following sunburn on lips symptoms a few hours or a day after exposing yourself on the intense sun rays for a longer time:

  • An inflammation or a burning sensation of the lips
  • They become dehydrated and forms a rough texture.
  • Cracks develops on the surface of the lips.
  • After the cracks have developed they may start to bleed if no treatment is taken.
  • Sunburn blisters on lips may develop.
  • They become swollen and may start to itch
  • They may also peel off after few days.

Sunburn Pictures

You can also learn on the various pictures showing sunburnt skin. From the pictures we can see that the exposed areas such as the hands, face, legs and upper part of the back are more affected. The pictures are also showing the different stages of sunburn on the skin.

The protected or covered areas are less damaged from the pictures. You should therefore ensure that you apply sunscreens and wear protective clothing’s while going out for long hours. Such clothes incudes long sleeved, a hat and goggles.

References:

WebMD

Wikipedia

Mayoclinic