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Stubble and Strife

Fix my...Sunburned Skin

Right, if you are looking like a lobster, it's clear things have gone a bit pear shaped. A little too much “current bun (sun)”, eh? Just put your feet up, grab a beer, and we'll see what we can do.

Sunburn is "skin cell DNA damage". In an effort to repair the damage caused by the excess UV radiation, the body sends more blood to the area. This extra blood makes the sunburn look red. So, as soon as your skin begins to "pink up", get out of the sun.

Not every skin type is equally sun-sensitive. A good way to remember is “Fair? Beware!” That is, people with fair skin are more likely to burn more easily. This group includes redhead, vampires and anyone who hasn't been in the sun much lately.

However, back to you in the here-and-now. You can “look forward to” the fact that your skin may peel – a lot. Sunburned skin peels because it is too damaged to continue its protective job. Be very careful with the new skin underneath. It is extremely tender. New skin MUST be kept out of the sun. So shaving is going to be difficult.

1. First things first – put the brakes on the damage by taking a chill pill - literally. Take aspirin or ibuprofen as these are drugs that block the formation of the chemicals that cause redness and swelling, not to mention pain.

2. If you WERE shaving, now you're not going to be . The excess sun has irritated your skin. Best to leave shaving until the skin is no longer tender to the touch.

3. Now to calm things down; help “put out the fire” so to speak.  Use moisturising products with vitamin E and aloe vera. One example of such a product is Edwin Jagger's Moisturising Aftershave Lotion Aloe Vera . Another recommendation is Calamine Lotion, available at most chemists.

4. Some people develop "an horrible itch" too. Most find relief by taking a cold shower or bath. E45 can help too.

Other than that, we're afraid, the best solution is prevention. An item on the UK Cancer Research site states that "in a recent survey more than a third of people admitted the last time they were sunburnt was in the UK." ( quoted) Evidently, we get enough UV radiation to do damage! One big reason is that the sun's UV rays are present even on cool days. Since people are not sweating, they tend to forget and stay longer in the sun. One way of getting round this is to check that your regular moisturiser protects against the sun such as this one by Close on Monday.

So, if you're going to be out in the sun, use sunblock. Sunblocks come in varying levels of protection and generally speaking the higher the SPF, the better the chances of minimising the damage.

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