When it’s too late to apply sun cream. Ouch! You know how it is, best intentions and all that. But you’re on holiday, the pina coladas and mai tai cocktails are flowing. The pool beckons and you don’t want to go home and not be complimented on your new hue back at the office. You want a glowing tan to show off…
You haven’t applied the factor 50 as often as you should, the rum in that second Mai Tai was ‘free poured’ and you’ve just had a short snooze on the sun lounger. However that little nap was actually an hour and a half and something doesn’t feel right. Your skin feels hot and itchy. A quick trip to the bathroom mirror reveals that you are a bright shade of fandango pink instead of that sweet touch of caramel you were after.
Over the next few days the skin will most likely peel, become very itchy and uncomfortable and perhaps even blister. It’s too late for sun cream. It’s all about damage control now.
Skin reacts to the harmful UVB rays that damage the DNA in skin cells causing them to die. The body’s natural reaction is to slough them off which results in peeling. Sometimes blistering will happen on the very damaged areas.
Damage Control and Recovery
Don’t be tempted to slap on sun cream and cool off in the pool. Chemicals in the pool are likely to make the skin more irritable and UVB rays penetrate water. The sun cream may not be effective and likely to wash off even though the label stated it was waterproof.
It’s time to escape the poolside, find some shade, ideally go inside and cover up. Take a cool bath or use cold wet flannels to calm down the angry skin. Do this for a minimum of ten minutes, preferably much longer. Dry the skin by letting it dry naturally or pat dry. Do not rub the skin which will make the sunburn worse and could burst any developing blisters leading to a skin infection.
Apply some soothing Aloe Vera gel that will naturally cool, moisturise and repair the skin. You could take some anti inflammatory tablets if they are suitable for you and some antihistamines to calm the itchy skin.
Stay well hydrated with water and antioxidant containing fruit juices, whilst steering clear of alcohol until the sunburn has cleared.
Hopefully the sunburn will clear quickly allowing you to get back to enjoying the remainder of your well deserved holiday. Just remember to regularly apply sun cream, stay in the shade and take it easy with those cheeky Mai-Tais!
Written By: Bhavash Padhiar