Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - HEALTH -

WHAT IS IT? Sunburn is caused by ul­tra­vi­o­let (UV) rays from the sun that dam­age your skin cells. The risk of dam­age de­pends on the time of day, the amount of time spent in the sun and whether or not you use sun pro­tec­tion. Sunburn can lead to longterm skin dam­age and even skin cancer. There are three ma­jor •Basal kinds of skin cancer: cell car­ci­noma (most •Squa­mous com­mon type) cell car­ci­noma •Melanoma (sec­ond most com­mon) (less com­mon but con­sid­er­ably more danger­ous). The sim­plest way to avoid sunburn is to stay out of the sun. Other sun-safe habits are to avoid the sun at its harsh­est – usu­ally be­tween 10am and 3pm; stay in the shade; use a good sun­screen and ap­ply it reg­u­larly; and wear sun­glasses, a hat and pro­tec­tive cloth­ing. DI­AG­NO­SIS: The red­ness and burn­ing pain are clear in­di­ca­tors that you have been burnt, so usu­ally no fur­ther di­ag­no­sis is nec­es­sary. TREAT­MENT: If you’ve been sun­burned, it can take sev­eral days for the skin to heal. Most cases of sunburn can be treated with over-the-counter sooth­ing gels (aloe vera or calamine are best) to help with red­ness and swelling, and pain re­lief to ease dis­com­fort. Make sure you drink plenty of wa­ter to avoid de­hy­dra­tion and con­tinue to mois­turise your skin as it be­gins to peel, which is your body’s way of get­ting rid of the top layer of dam­aged skin. If at-home treat­ment doesn’t work, or your sunburn is very se­vere, see your doc­tor.

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