REVEALED: Exactly what happens to your body when you get sunburnt – from severe dehydration to skin ‘self-exfoliating’ all the damaged cells
- A scope of physical drawbacks occur if the skin becomes badly sunburnt
- Sydney doctor Sam Sailing said dehydration, fatigue and itchiness can occur
- While some sunlight exposure is beneficial, too much is detrimental
- It’s recommended to use sun cream if exposed to the sun
- Preventing sunburn will also prevent deadly skin cancers and premature ageing
An Australian family doctor has revealed the physical side effects that occur after you are exposed to the sun.
Sam Sailing, from Sydney, told Bed Threads that while some sunlight exposure is beneficial to boost vitamin D levels, too much light can be detrimental both long and short term.
A wide scope of drawbacks follow if the skin becomes sunburnt, including dehydration, fatigue, headaches as well as visible redness and peeling.
Particularly during the hot Australian summer, it’s essential to wear sun cream in order to protect the skin and avoid burning.
Sam Sailing, from Sydney, (pictured) said that while some sunlight exposure is beneficial to boost vitamin D levels, too much harsh UV light can be detrimental
A wide scope of drawbacks follow if sunburn occurs, including dehydration, fatigue, headaches as well as visible redness and peeling
Dehydration and fatigue
According to research, the ‘main effect’ of sunburn is dehydration due to a decreased amount of moisture in the skin after being exposed to the sun for long periods of time.
‘Sunburnt skin loses a lot of moisture, so if a large surface area is affected, you can experience significant dehydration,’ Dr Sailing said.
This is highly problematic because dehydration can also lead to other nasty side effects, such as headaches, fatigue and dizziness.
These additional symptoms often occur between 12 and 24 hours after the sunburn has surfaced.
In order to keep the body hydrated, it’s essential to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
* Always carry a water bottle with you
* Choose water over caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee
* Add natural flavours like lemon, mint or strawberry to make it easier to drink
* Always keep a bottle on your desk at work
* Always have water chilling in the fridge at home
Source: Health Direct
Peeling due to ‘self-exfoliating’ damaged cells
Peeling is another common side effect that occurs as a result of sunburn, as this is the body’s natural way to remove the damaged skin cells.
‘Peeling after sunburn indicates the skin is trying to get rid of damaged skin cells. The skin self-exfoliates, leading the way for new healthy skin cells to appear,’ Dr Sailing said.
‘Sometimes after sunburn, post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation can occur in damaged skin that remains, which means the affected skin becomes a slightly darker shade due to the healing process.’
In order to aid this peeling process and speed the recovery time, Healthline recommends using moisturising creams after showering or bathing, such as aloe vera or cortisone cream.
Peeling is another common side effect that occurs as a result of sunburn, as this is the body’s natural way to remove the damaged skin cells
In addition to the redness, some individuals may experience itchiness as a result of the severe dry surface area.
This is simply because the skin itself is very irritated and is attempting to rejuvenate itself to the original healthy condition.
In order to avoid sunburn, it’s recommended to apply sun cream onto dry skin prior to being exposed to any light.
Preventing sunburn will also prevent deadly skin cancers as well as premature ageing.
Top tips for using sun cream:
* Put it on clean, dry skin 15 to 30 minutes before you go out in the sun to allow it time to interact with your skin. Re-apply it just before you go out – you’ll increase the amount applied and be more likely to get the stated SPF benefit.
* Cover all parts of the body not protected by clothing (don’t forget your ears, the back of your neck, the backs of your hands and the tops of your feet).
* Apply it evenly, and don’t rub it in excessively – most sunscreens will absorb into the outer layer of skin and don’t need to be rubbed in vigorously.
* Re-apply at least once every two hours and after swimming or exercise.
* Think beyond the beach and pool – use sunscreen whenever you go outdoors for a significant amount of time, such as to the park, a lunchtime walk to the shops, playing sports or gardening.
* Store your sunscreen at a temperature of less than 30 degrees Celsius. If you leave it in the glovebox of your car or in the sun, it may lose its effectiveness. Keep it in the esky with the drinks, in the shade or wrapped in a towel.
* Don’t use sunscreens that have passed their expiry date as they may have lost their effectiveness.
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