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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

SKINCARE TALK WITH BOLA-AKINBOADE BELLO:I HAVE SUNBURN, WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW?


In today’s world many Australians are familiar with the pain and discomfort of sunburn. Most of us have been sunburnt at least once in our lives, and many people get sunburnt regularly every summer.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial sources such as a solarium (tanning bed) can cause sunburn. Sunburn occurs when the amount of UV radiation your skin is exposed to is more than its ability to protect itself with melanin – the pigment that gives our skin its colour and acts to absorb UV radiation before it can damage skin cells.

Skin that has been sunburnt turns red within hours – and the sunburn will continue to develop for the next one to three days. Most people who have been sunburnt also peel – which is the body’s way of shedding dead and damaged skin cells and making way for the new skin underneath.
You can’t see or feel UV radiation. It is present every day, can be high even if the temperature feels cool and can pass through light cloud cover.

The amount of time it takes to be sunburnt will depend on your skin type (fair skin will burn faster than dark skin), time of day and time of year (UV levels at the time the exposure occurs) and your environment (cement, sand, water and snow are highly reflective). For example, if you are by the pool you are exposed to direct sunlight from the sky as well as the reflected sunlight from the water.


Unfortunately even though sunburn eventually fades, long term damage to skin cells remains. Even mild sunburn can increase your risk of developing melanoma and the more often you are burnt and the more severe the sunburn is, the higher your risk will be.

How many of you have ever experienced sunburn? I’m guessing that almost all of us have, could have been indirectly, meaning you didn’t even know, with an embarrassing blush! Yes, we know it’s wrong and we kick ourselves when we are wincing with pain as we try to dress. But maybe if we truly understood what is happening to our skins as we nonchalantly lay in the sun for that extra 10 minutes, we wouldn’t be so lax.
Sunburn is the skin’s response to extreme ultraviolet (UV) exposure and indicates severe damage. In as little as 10 minutes of intense UV exposure, the skin sets into motion a system of defense against this enemy. The first indication of damage is redness. This is the body’s inflammatory response in situations requiring repair and is a result of dilating blood vessels. The skin will then start to lose moisture and hydration, which will be apparent with a feeling of tightness. Slowly, skin cells will start to thicken and melanin pigment will be produced (tanning) in an attempt to stop the UV rays from penetrating through to the deeper layers and damaging the DNA of the cells. When the skin is exposed to high levels of sunlight this may result in hypo or hyperpigmentation which appears as irregular light or dark patches. The body is excellent at coping with minimal amounts of damage, but if exposure is greater than the body’s ability to repair and mop up, more serious consequences may result. If DNA is damaged and its repair mechanisms are inhibited, skin cancer may occur.

WHY DOES THE SKIN PEEL?
Peeling after sunburn is your body’s way of getting rid of the damaged cells that are at risk of “losing control” and becoming cancerous. Due to this danger, all damaged cells are instructed to commit suicide by repair mechanisms within these cells. This mass suicide of cells results in whole layers of damaged skin peeling off, to be replaced by other cells underneath those layers.

I HAVE SUNBURN, WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW?
First of all, you should take care of the cause of your problem: get out of the sun immediately. Drink plenty of water as you may be dehydrated. If skin is severely blistered, seek help from a medical practitioner. Otherwise it is important to take down the inflammation and try to reduce damage to the deeper layers of your skin.

Take a cool bath (no products added) and then blot skin dry. Avoid greasy creams, which prevent the skin from cooling and may make the situation worse. Rather, apply generously a soothing after-sun gel to red areas and then stay out of the sun and the heat. Look for ingredients such as Clove, Licorice, Lavender, Cucumber and Yucca to reduce irritation, pain and redness. Also look out for an incredible ingredient called Japanese Alder to accelerate the repair of UV induced DNA damage. Couple this with ingredients such as Algae and Hyaluronic Acid to rehydrate the skin and you should be well on your way to a calmer skin.
But hay! It is not then ok to go out into the sun the next day for another blast! Remember, your skin is still trying to heal and so must be kept out of direct sunlight for a good few days. Keep in mind, the skin is a great record keeper and even with a great after-sun product, irreparable damage may have occurred in the form of premature aging or skin cancer that may only reveal itself later. Think twice next time you decide “just another ten minutes;” your immune system is listening!

(Bola Akinboade-Bello is a lifestyle blogger, fashion designer and beauty therapist/cosmetologist. She started her journey into the fashion and beauty industry as a model in 1999 and modelled for top fashion and beauty brands. In March 2006, she joined City People Media Group as a style writer, and rose with a short period to become the Fashion Editor. Her clothing line, Betyl BAT Clothing and Accessories and natural skincare range, Chanterelle Skincare, are doing great in the market)

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