It is again the start of many summer outings and outdoor activities as soon as the summer sun shines. I especially like summer because it is the time of the year when I can indulge in a wide range of outdoor activities and not just riding on my Volkswagen. Going to the beach is one of my favorite activities. However, I have this fear of getting sunburned as I have a painful experience with it before. That is why you wouldn’t see me sun basking the whole day. I would rather swim for several minutes and then do other water activities.

The sun’s rays have ultraviolet radiation which can burn or damage the skin. The degree of burn depends on how long you are exposed to the sun and what your skin type is. People with freckles and with fairer skin are more prone to sunburns; even a short period of exposure without sun protection can damage their skin. And this skin damage can be a first degree or second degree sunburn. You will be lucky if yours is first degree because it is less painful and less damaging to the skin.

First degree sunburn is less harmful because it is only characterized by the reddening of the skin. It becomes second degree sunburn, however, when the skin becomes extremely red, usually comes with severe pain in the affected area. There may also be blisters with serous fluids as well as swelling. If the damage is very deep, it can also damage the skin and the nerves. Aside from the pain and redness of the skin, the patient may also experience vomiting, dehydration, fever and secondary infection. The damage to the skin may also become permanent. This type of sunburn is a more serious condition which could be avoided or treated.

Taking skin precautions before going to the beach or exposing yourself under the sun can go a long way of protecting your skin against sunburn. If you have fair skin with freckles, use a cream or lotion with the highest SPF or sun protection factor available. You could also use a total sunblock if the sunlight is too harsh. For medium skin complexion, you could apply a mild-range protection cream. If you are of Mediterranean descent or you benefit from year-round tan, you could use a cream or lotion with a lower SPF. But the best way to avoid sunburn is to prevent prolonged sun exposure as much as possible.

However, if you already have sunburn, there are home remedies that you could use to treat the burn and reduce the pain. One is by subjecting the affected area with cool tap water. However, be careful not to use ice-cold water as it can worsen the condition. Vinegar for sunburn is also a known home remedy. You could also apply calamine on the affected area, but never lotion or creams. You must also rehydrate more often to replace the fluid lost as a result of the burn. To treat the pain, you could take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAID.

Come summer and you could already spend as much time outdoors. But remember to always apply sunscreen to avoid sunburn.