Don't rely on sunscreen alone to protect your skin on those hazy summer beach days, or at a relaxing long lunch under the sun. Here's what those harmful UV rays can do to your body inside and out. By Trudi Brewer.
There's nothing worse than the feeling of sunburn. The sting is a painful reminder of that fun day at the beach or long summer lunch. Being out under our New Zealand rays can turn any skin colour red within minutes, three to be exact come high summer, which can lead to blisters, and cellular damage. Sunburn causes early visible signs of ageing, not to mention lasting brown spots (that you need high tech treatments to shift, which costs money and time) not to mention the heightened risk of skin cancer.
But did you know that sunburn can also lead to sun poisoning? What exactly is sun poisoning I hear you ask? According to American dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, "Sun poisoning is a reaction to a severe sunburn that affects your entire body." He adds, "Essentially, a case of sun poisoning feels like the flu — in addition to dealing with a painful burn, you might have a fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, and even fainting spells. So if redness or peeling skin were all you thought you would get after a slack SPF application, think again. These symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours in mild cases to days in more severe cases says, Zeichner. If we beauty writers had our way, everyone would be armed with an SPF 50, and use it 365 days of the year. From convenient sticks to easy-to-apply gels or speedy spray (great for those hard to reach spots), or a tinted option you can wear instead or over the top of your foundation. Sunscreen, an SPF 50 is the gold standard according to dermatologists because when applied correctly it offers 90 percent protection from UVB rays, (the burning rays) and is the one anti-ageing beauty product that will work to prevent your skin from wrinkling and gaining ageing hyperpigmentation or brown spots. All you have to do is remember to apply it every few hours while you are out in the sun. Note to self - it's the most critical part of your beauty regimen, we believe it's one of the essential steps in any health and wellbeing regimen. So if or when you do get caught short without your SPF, and don't want sun poisoning, seek shade and cover up with a long sleeve shirt, and wear a hat between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm. Stay hydrating and after a day outside, slather on an aftersun to help prevent your skin from peeling post sunburn.
Five tips on how to instantly soothe the burn.
Take an aspirin or ibuprofen when your skin is pink. Dermatologists swear that the earlier you take pain relief, the less likely your skin will react by going red, swelling, or stinging.
Soak a face cloth in a bowl of cold milk with lots of ice cubes. Use as a cold compress and press it on the sunburn for 10 minutes at a time to help relieve swelling and redness. The milk helps cool the skin, and the lactic acid gently exfoliates any dry skin to reduce peeling.
Layer yogurt (the thick natural Greek yogurt is best), onto red skin and leave it for 10 minutes. Natural yogurt contains probiotics, which helps restore the skin's natural barrier and reduces swelling.
Your body loses water when it's overheated, drink ice water to keep the temperature of your body down. It hydrates as well as cooling the sunburn from the inside out.
Take a lukewarm oatmeal bath, try Aveeno Baby Enzyme Soothing Bath Treatment pouches, $16. The colloidal oatmeal calms inflammation and relieves the itching.
Layer aftersun onto the skin for a few days after sunburn to rehydrate the skin, also the antioxidants in the formulations prevent long term skin damage.