How can I Prevent Sunburn?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Most people are well aware of the pain caused by sunburn. However, sunburn isn’t just temporarily painful. It can lead to permanent skin damage. In fact, sunburn can lead to skin cancer, some forms of which are deadly.

Wearing sunglasses that protect against UVA, HEV, and UVB rays can protect the eyes from sunburn.
Wearing sunglasses that protect against UVA, HEV, and UVB rays can protect the eyes from sunburn.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of people are diagnosed with skin cancer. In the United States, it is the most common type of cancer. The malignant melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, is known to end thousands of lives each year.

Sunscreen can help protect skin from damage caused by the sun.
Sunscreen can help protect skin from damage caused by the sun.

Surprisingly, it doesn’t take long to be harmed by the sun. In fact, in just 15 minutes, skin can experience damage from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Though skin can be harmed in this amount of time, the full effects may not be noticeable for up to 12 hours. As such, skin that is just slightly pink may be affected by sunburn, showing the effects only hours later.

A skin can burn after just 15 minutes of sun exposure.
A skin can burn after just 15 minutes of sun exposure.

Those who experience serious sunburn before adulthood may be at increased risk for the development of malignant melanoma. Sadly, many people remain unaware of this fact and do not take the proper steps to protect themselves and their children from dangerous UV rays. It is estimated that only about 33% of Americans take precautionary measures to prevent sunburn and skin cancer.

Ultimately, preventative measures and avoiding burning in the first place are the best ways to treat a sunburn.
Ultimately, preventative measures and avoiding burning in the first place are the best ways to treat a sunburn.

It is possible, and even easy, to protect your skin from the sun. The first step in preventing sunburn is to seek out shady areas when outdoors. This is of particular importance during midday, as UV rays are capable of doing the most damage at this time of day. Sit under a beach umbrella or enjoy the cool shade of a large tree.

Hats, sunglasses, and rashguards all protect against sunburn.
Hats, sunglasses, and rashguards all protect against sunburn.

Next, be sure to stay covered when you're trying to avoid sunburn. Use clothing to protect your skin. A hat with a wide brim can be used to protect your face, neck, and ears from sunburn.

After applying sunblock, wait at least 30 minutes before exposure to sun or water.
After applying sunblock, wait at least 30 minutes before exposure to sun or water.

Sunglasses designed to block UV rays are important as well. It is best to choose a pair that blocks a high percentage of UV and ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays. Get a pair that blocks as close to 100% as possible.

Sitting under a beach umbrella can help to prevent sunburn.
Sitting under a beach umbrella can help to prevent sunburn.

Last, but not least, don’t forget the sunscreen. Make sure it offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays. It should be no less than sun protection factor (SPF) 15. Remember, sunscreen isn’t just for preventing sunburn at the beach; use it whenever you venture outdoors.

A hat with a wide brim can help protect your face, neck, and ears from sunburn.
A hat with a wide brim can help protect your face, neck, and ears from sunburn.
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments

anon24623

there's been talk about nano bots walking on DNA but its not really been tested. if scientist build a nano bot that can repair DNA can they add something to it so that they will be less likely to get sunburn. OR can you add a pigment in your skin to prevent it?

minombre

This is new information to me. Apparently by eating tomatoes, including tomato paste, and tomato sauces help reduce the severity of a sunburn.

It takes a few month of eating tomatoes for it to be effective. So it is a good idea to eat tomatoes and tomato products daily, since they seam to be loaded with health benefits.

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