I have a sunburn: what to do?

The sun can do a lot of damage to our skin, starting with burns. Here are all our tips for soothing sunburned skin!

After months spent locked up, the desire to sunbathe is more and more strong. We dreamed of its light and warmth! Essential for our morale and our health, the sun helps synthesize vitamin D, release endorphins and increase the level of serotonin, two molecules of happiness. Yet the scientific evidence is irrefutable: the sun and its radiation also represent a great danger for our skin and our health.

The danger of UV

Long pointed out, UVB rays responsible for sunburn are not ultimately the most dangerous. Indeed, unlike UVB, blocked by windows or clouds, much more harmful UVA penetrates everything and reaches our skin deep down. Prolonged exposure to the sun can thus be responsible for sunburn, it is the most quickly visible harmful effect. But it can also promote premature aging of the skin, cause skin cancer (melanoma) or even cause allergies (lucitis). It is therefore essential to protect yourself with care adapted to the slightest exposure.

Not all equal

Not all skin reacts the same to sunlight. To determine our ability to tan and burn (!), There are 6 phototypes.
Phototype 0 : very white skin, white or pale yellow hair. This phototype is dedicated to people with albinism who cannot be exposed to the sun.
Phototype I : very fair complexion, freckles, red hair, light eyes, the skin burns quickly, never tans.
Phototype II : very fair complexion, blond hair, light eyes, the skin burns easily and barely tans.
Phototype III : fair complexion, brown hair, blue, green or brown eyes, can get sunburned but tans a little.
Phototype IV : dark complexion, chestnut or brown hair, the skin rarely burns and tans well.
Phototype V : dark complexion, black hair and eyes, the skin rarely burns and tans a lot.
Phototype VI : black skin, black hair and eyes, the skin rarely burns and tans very quickly.

Do you recognize yourself in one of these phototypes? Between 0 and 3, it is imperative to use very high protection: SPF 50+ sunscreen. Between 4 and 6, you can optionally use an index of 30 (minimum) as long as you have no skin problems. As a reminder, no one is safe from the risks, even the darkest skin types generally better protected naturally against the sun.

What is sunburn?

You may have already experienced it. After a short time on a deckchair, your shoulders turn red and the skin becomes painful. Maybe you’ve even seen blisters appear? Far from being trivial, sunburn is actually a burn that destroys thousands of epidermal cells and its severity varies according to the type of skin, the duration of exposure or the location. It can be more or less mild, like a first degree burn that results in redness of the skin and itching, but can go as far as a deep second degree burn. Do you think about shelter during a swim? Oh no! Not only does UVB reach parts of your body submerged in water, but the face outside the water is reflected and can take up to 180% of UV rays!

What to do in case of sunburn?

It all depends on its severity. In many cases, it is quite possible to treat your sunburn yourself, but some burns are not to be taken lightly and may require a consultation. In any case, there are not thirty-six remedies: take shelter immediately and cool the burned area for about 15 minutes in the shower with water at 15 or 25 degrees maximum. If the area is large (the back for example), immerse in a lukewarm bath. Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water, and monitor your temperature. Finally, do not reexpose yourself the following days. Protect the burned areas with cotton clothing and the rest of the skin with a high protection sunscreen.

First degree burn
How to recognize it? It appears a few hours after exposure. The skin is red and does not have blisters but may itch or peel.
What to do ? This sunburn heals in a week and does not leave a scar or pigmentation. You can apply a soothing ointment such as Biafine, after-sun milk or organic aloe vera to moisturize and soothe the skin. Do not remove the small peels that come off.

Superficial second degree burn:
How to recognize it? If it is superficial, the skin is red, sore, and fluid-filled blisters appear immediately or a few hours after exposure.
What to do ? These sunburns heal spontaneously within two weeks but can leave pigment spots on the skin. Gently disinfect the burnt skin to prevent infection. Once the skin is cleansed, you can soothe it with an ointment.

Deep second degree burn:
How to recognize it? In a more severe burn such as a deep second degree burn, the pain is less felt because the nerve endings have been burned and the blisters have a pale background.
What to do ? It is imperative to consult a doctor. Even more so if you have a headache and have a fever. Healing may take a month and the skin may be left with scars.

Emulsion for skin application, Biafine

Aloe Vera Gel, Fleurance Nature

After-Sun MilkFleir de Tiaré, adopted

What not to do after sunburn

Re-expose yourself! Your skin is already badly damaged, no need to take any more risks.
Wearing too tight clothes, let your skin breathe.
Scratch or tear off the peeling skin, which can cause infections and delay healing.
Applying foundation suffocates the skin, which needs to breathe to regenerate and can cause infections.
Do not hydrate, sunburn causes water loss and dehydrates the body. Your body therefore needs water to better regenerate itself.

Prevention is better than cure

We come back to sunscreens. You and your protection must be inseparable all summer. Apply a thick layer to all exposed areas of the body twenty minutes before going out. Repeat the operation every two hours or after each swim. Never expose a baby or a child before three years old. And if possible, seek as much shade as possible and always wear a hat, sunglasses and clothing. They remain the best ramparts against UV rays.

Sun cream-gel face & eyes yogurt SPF 50, Korres

Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF30, Tropical Coconut, Coola

Time Protect Anti-Aging Sun Care, Physiodermie

Eco-designed sun lotion SPF50 +, Vichy

Is hydroalcoholic gel dangerous for the skin in the sun?

Video by Clara Poudevigne