sunburn | The Tunisian press

A sunburn is a more or less severe burn of the skin after more or less long exposure to the sun, especially UVB radiation. It causes redness and pain with itching and sometimes even blisters.

Sunburn Symptoms

The most common symptoms of sunburn are redness (or erythema) of the skin, pain and sometimes itching.

There are different types of sunburn depending on the severity of the burn.

The first-degree burn that causes skin to be red without blisters. It manifests itself within 6 to 24 hours after exposure. If you press on the reddened area, the color will disappear. Sometimes itching is associated with it. This type of sunburn heals in a few days (maximum 1 week) and disappears without scarring or depigmentation. If the burn is more severe, desquamation (skin peeling) may be seen.

When blisters are present, we are no longer dealing with a first degree burn but with a superficial second degree burn. They can appear within hours of exposure. The blisters are filled with a clear liquid with a red border. The healing lasts between 10 and 15 days without consequences. On the other hand, the pain can be very important.

When the burn is more intense, it is called a deep second-degree burn. The blisters are pale and there is little pain due to the destruction of the nerve endings. In this case, healing is slower (a month) and scarring may occur.

Medical advice is required for:

• symptoms of sunstroke, ie fever, headache, nausea or vomiting;

• sunburn with blisters covering more than half of the person’s palm;

• Extensive sunburn in a young child or infant.

treatment of sunburn

First of all, in the event of a sunburn, it is imperative to stop all sun exposure until the skin has completely healed. When going out, it is therefore essential to use sunscreen with SPF 50 and wear protective clothing, even under a parasol.

If the sunburn is simple (small and without blisters), you will need to apply a product to soothe the burn. The product must be applied in a thin layer from 1 to 6 times a day (depending on the reference chosen).

If there is severe accompanying itching, there are creams based on hydrocortisone. Apply twice a day for a maximum of 3 days.

In the case of sunburn with blisters, it is important not to puncture the blisters but to disinfect them with an aqueous chlorhexidine-based product. It is then advisable to apply a hydrocolloid bandage to clean, dry skin. The dressing should be changed daily until healing has occurred.

Prevention against sunburn

To protect against sunburn, apply an appropriate sunscreen 30 minutes before exposure. The application must be renewed every 2 hours and after each swim. There are different types of protection:

• Very high protection SPF 50+ is the maximum protection. It is recommended for children and people with light images;

• For all other cases, a high sun protection factor SPF 30 is recommended.

In addition, certain precautions must be observed, such as

• Do not expose yourself between 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM;

• do not expose to children under 3 years of age;

• Exposure to the sun gradually to allow your skin to get used to it (initially no longer than 20-30 minutes);

• For prolonged exposure, wear a t-shirt, hat and sunglasses in addition to applying sunscreen.


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