Sun Burns

Sun Burns
When our skin is exposed to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, it produces a substance called melanin, which protects the skin and gives it color. UV rays stimulate production of melanin. So, the more skin is exposed to these rays, the more tanned it becomes. When our body can’t produce enough melanin to counter-act the UV rays absorbed by the skin, a sunburn results.
Fair-skinned people with light-colored hair are at greatest risk of sunburn because their bodies produce lower amounts of melanin.  Environmental and genetic factors also play roles. People with fair skin, eyes and hair, the blue-eyed blondes and redheads — are particularly prone to burn easily. Because of their genetics, they are more susceptible to skin cancer than people with more natural pigment.
Sunburn destroys cells on the skin’s outer layer. In most cases, these burns are minor, causing red, tender, sometimes blistered skin that sheds after several days. Regular overexposure to the sun can age your skin prematurely, causing sagging, wrinkling, wart-like growths, and a leathery appearance. It also can lead to skin cancer.
The appearance of the skin is partly due to the reddish pigment in the blood of the superficial vessels. However, it is mainly determined by melanin, a pigment manufactured by dendritic cells called melanocytes, found among the basal cells of the epidermis. Their numbers in any one region of the body, range from about 1,000- 2,000 per square millimetre. It is roughly the same within and between races. The blondest whites have as many as the darkest blacks. Colour differences are due solely to the amount of melanin produced and the nature of the pigment granules. When the skin becomes tanned on exposure to sunlight, the melanocytes do not increase in number, only in activity. Not only do melanocytes produce a tan, they are also responsible for the form of cancer called melanoma. Melanoma is caused by UV radiation damage to melanocytes.

Treatment

  • Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help relieve sunburn pain. Its better to avoid aspirin.
  • Anesthetic Creams and Sprays containing  benzocaine or lidocaine can be used. It gives cooling affect and also relieves pain.
  • Antibacterial and antimicrobial soaps and antiseptics to prevent infection can be used.
  • Moisturizers help to prevent the skin from drying out and tightening. Oil-based products and ointments should be avoided.

Prevention

Sunscreens protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Sunscreens are rated for their protection ability. SPF – sun protection factor. The higher the number, the greater the protection. One should choose the SPF number based on ones skin type and the length of time expect to be in the sun. Broad-spectrum sunscreens with a protection factor of 15 or higher should be preferred.

Individuals can help prevent skin cancer by using sunscreens, limiting exposure, and wearing hats and protective clothing. Most of the lifelong skin damage caused by the sun is done before age 18.

Apply sunscreen liberally and frequently. Re-apply sunscreen after swimming and after profuse sweating.

It should be remembered that radiation is at the greatest intensity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Skin Burns & Cancer:  Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. There are three major types of skin cancer: basal cell, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. The vast majority of skin cancers are basal and squamous cell.
A lesion that won’t heal, bleeds easily and is traumatized easily could be cancer.Long-term sun exposure not only increases the risk of skin cancer but also leads to  wrinkles and sun spots.Environmental and genetic factors also play roles. People with fair skin, eyes and hair — the blue-eyed blondes and redheads — are particularly prone to burn easily. Because of their genetics, they are more susceptible to skin cancer than people with more natural pigment.
Melanoma 
Skin Diseases
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