Sunburn corresponds to a more or less severe burn of the skin caused by overexposure to UV rays, UVB rays having the most pronounced effects.
Symptoms appear between 1 and 24 hours for mild sunburn and up to 72 hours for more severe sunburn.
At the level of the skin, depending on the severity, one can observe redness (erythema) with skin that peels and peels off slowly, and potentially the appearance of bubbles. The most common complications are secondary infection of the damaged skin, the appearance of permanent pigmentation spots and a significant increase in the risk of skin cancer. In order to prevent this, good care is essential.
It consists of :
- Cool burned area with room temperature water for 15 minutes
- Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- Be careful, if there has been exposure to the head, monitor your temperature and take a painkiller (example: paracetamol) if headaches occur
- Avoid sun exposure until complete healing of the skin. If exposure is unavoidable, cover burnt areas with preferably cotton clothing and apply an index 50+ screen
- Apply after exposure a rich, soothing moisturizer that will contribute to the skin regeneration process such as Biafine® or Osmosoft® which are used in the treatment of burns and non-infected superficial wounds
- If there are blisters, the affected area should be disinfected with an antiseptic such as aqueous chlorhexidine and covered with a greasy healing dressing.
PS: The blisters must not be pierced and the peeling skin must not be torn off at the risk of making marks and causing secondary infection.
In which cases is it advisable to consult your doctor?
- If the first degree burn covers more than 10% of the body surface, either the equivalent of the surface of an upper limb or 10 times the surface of the palm of the hand (it is assumed that the palm of the hand equals 1%)
- If the superficial second degree burn generates blisters over an area of more than 3 cm x 3 cm or reaches 10% of the body surface
- If there is a deep second degree burn, which is characterized by low pain and the dermis is white in color, which means the nerve endings and blood vessels have been destroyed
- In the event of the presence of symptoms of dehydration (high fever, headache, vomiting, malaise, etc.) or sunstroke
- In the event that the sunburn affects fragile areas: the face and décolleté (risk of aesthetic sequelae such as scars), the hands (risk of infectious complication), the genitals (risk of infectious complications that can spread to the bladder)
- If there are signs of superinfection (increased redness, pain, presence of pus)
Finally, pay particular attention to certain medications that increase the risk of sunburn, even during low exposure: this is called photosensitization. The list is long, the most commonly used being:
- Certain antibiotics: Fluoroquinolones (Ciprofloxacin, Levofloxacin, Ofloxacin)
- Some anti-allergic: Nautamine (indicated in motion sickness, nausea and vomiting), Primalan (Mequizatine) and Phenergan (Promethazine).
- Certain cardiac drugs: Cordarone (Amiodarone), Diltiazem, Quinine-based drugs.
- Certain drugs used in Psychiatry: Xanax (Alprazolam), Tegretol (Carbamazepine)
- Certain drugs used in dermatology : Plaquenil or Curacne (Isotretinoin)
- And pay particular attention to creams/gels and various topicals: anti-acne ointments (e.g. Cutacnyl), and anti-inflammatories, in particular Ketoprofen (Ketum).
Do not stop any treatment without the advice of your doctor ! However, if your treatment includes a photosensitizing drug, do not hesitate to ask your pharmacist for advice and apply the following preventive measures :
- Sun protection with SPF50 protection index the first week, which you can switch to SPF30 the following weeks. (PS: Beware of self-tanning products that do not protect against sunburn!)
- Repeat the applications well every 2 hours and after each swim
- Clothing protection remains the best protection even if it is not always obvious! So we bring long sleeves and pants preferably in cotton, linen and non-synthetic fabrics permeable to perspiration
- Systematic shade when possible
- Beware of certain cosmetics: especially cosmetics containing Alcohol, Perfume, Citrus Essential Oils and Retinol, the star ingredient in anti-aging.
The tips of the house: Nigella oil is a powerful antioxidant and probably one of the oldest to date! To prevent skin aging, and prolong your tan, we recommend that you consume titrated Nigella oil capsules (essential range) at the rate of 2 capsules per day, starting before exposure and continuing for up to 3 weeks after. . The skin is armed to defend itself!