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What Happens When You Get Sunburned Skin

What Happens When You Get a Sunburn

Sunburned skin is one of summer’s biggest health hazards. One sunburn leaves skin with painful, lasting damage. After receiving five or more sunburns, a person’s risk for melanoma  doubles, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. In this blog post, we’ll share what actually happens to your skin when it burns and what you can do to care for sunburned skin.

What Causes Sunburn?

It only takes 10 minutes of intense sun exposure for your skin to burn. The characteristic signs of sunburned skin are your body’s attempts to defend itself against UV damage. Skin redness is the body’s inflammatory response to signal that there are skin cells in need of repair. Additionally, the body begins sending blood to the exposed area to help the healing process. This is what makes skin warm to the touch even after sun exposure.

In addition to this redness and heat, more severe sunburn can mean blisters and peeling skin. The body uses blisters to try to protect areas with tissue damage. When skin begins to peel, this is the body’s attempt at shedding damaged skin cells it thinks could become cancerous.

Less intense sun exposure leads to a different change in skin color. The body responds to this UV exposure by producing melanin, or the pigment that gives skin its color, to try to protect cells from DNA damage. This gives skin the appearance of a tan. Although your skin isn’t turning red, any change in the color of your skin is a sign of damage.

Caring for Sunburned Skin

We all know it’s best to avoid sunburned skin altogether with topical sunscreen and safe sun practices. However, if you do get a sunburn, there are ways you can help your skin heal. When you feel your skin start to tingle or see signs of redness, get out of the sun as soon as possible. Take Advil immediately, which will act as an anti-inflammatory to minimize the severity of a sunburn. This medicine won’t completely prevent a burn, but it will keep skin from blistering.

Then, soothe skin with a cold shower and apply LovelySkin Aloe Vera Soothing Skin Relief Gel to help calm and heal sunburn. You can also relieve discomfort by applying FixMySkin Healing Body Balm with 1% Hydrocortisone to the affected area up to three times a day. This unique balm contains hydrocortisone to soothe irritation and hydrating shea butter and cocoa butter to prevent peeling and flaking skin. If you think you’ve had too much sun exposure, taking Heliocare Sun Protection Pills immediately after can also help minimize a burn.

How do you protect yourself from sunburned skin? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #LovelySkin.

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About the Author

Kristen is a copywriter for LovelySkin who loves catching up on the latest in skin care and beauty trends. Her favorite things include cats, concerts and Harry Potter.

Other Posts by Kristen


Leave a comment
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Commented By
Mandi - July 01, 2015

Yikes! I had no idea peeling skin was the bodys way of shedding possibly cancerous cells. As a woman who is very fair, every time I burn, I peel. :( This is great info, thank you!


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