Summer comes with the shedding of sleeves and the baring of skin, and while some may find they have developed a sun-kissed glow by the end of the day, others may discover the fiery, painful sensation of a sunburn.
One can do many things to prevent and care for a sunburn. It takes diligence in following the rules of protection against the sun as well as a knowledge of what it really means to be burned by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Melissa R. Christiansen, nurse practitioner for the Wellness Center, said that a sunburn is like any other burn in the sense that there are varying degrees of skin damage.
While a first-degree burn will be red, painful and warm to the touch, a second or third-degree burn can be determined by whether the skin develops blisters.
“If you have blisters, you need to come in and be seen by a professional, whether it’s me or urgent care … it needs to be seen,” Christiansen said.
Here are some things students can do to prevent or treat a first-degree sunburn:
Buy affordable, but reliable sunscreen.
“Stay away from generic brands of sunscreen Aveeno and Neutrogena are good brands,” Christensen said. “The less scent the better.”
Put on your sunscreen.
“Your sun protection factor (SPF) should be from 30 to 50… anything more than that and you’re wasting your money,” Christiansen said.
She also mentioned that sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, more frequently if one has been sweating throughout the day. Students should limit themselves to about two hours in the sun, and then it is wise to take a break and find some shade.
Invest in some aloe vera or a cold compress.
“You’ll want to find something that doesn’t have a lot of alcohol because that’s going to burn,” Christiansen said
The cold compresses and aloe vera can be found along with the other types of “after sunburn” gels at any grocery store.
“Don’t forget to use overthe-counter, mild pain relievers,” Christiansen said.
She also explained that students can take a cold shower to relieve some of the pain.
“It won’t stop the sunburn, but it will help relieve some of the pain,” Christiansen said. “The damage has already been done.