In true Irish spirit, there’s no doubt that there are a few red lobsters in the office today after the gorgeous sunny weekend. Regardless of how many warnings were given, and how many times we’re told to apply a healthy slab of suncream, we meticulously get burned… every time.
What IS sunburn?
According to irishhealth.com, sunburn is an inflammation of the skin due to over-exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
How many different types of rays are there?
UV rays are a type of radiation produced by sunlight and artificial lighting (sunbeds). There are three types of rays – AV-A, UV-B, and UV-C – each leaving damaging effects on your skin. UV-A are long rays of light that account for 95% of UV radiation that reaches the earth’s surface. These rays are also responsible for aging and wrinkling; which is why dermatologists recommend wearing high factor even during winter months. UV-B radiation is far more harmful than UV-A rays and is responsible for delayed tanning and burning. UV-B significantly increases the chance of developing skin cancer. UV-C, or short-wavelength radiation, is the most damaging type of radiation, but it is thoroughly filtered through the atmosphere and generally does not reach the earth’s surface.
Why doesn’t my skin tan?
Melanin is the darker pigment in skin that produces your ‘tan’, but many Irish people have very low levels of Melanin; resulting in lovely and freckly fair skin that fears direct sunlight. However, this is where the danger arises for fair-skinned fillies: ‘tanning’ is your bodies way of protecting itself against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet B rays (UV-B); which penetrate deep into your skins different layers and can cause long-term damage. So those who are fair skinned (i.e the majority of the population of Ireland) are at higher risk of these harmful UV-B rays.
Will Wearing suncream stop me from tanning?
No. If your body lacks Melanin then chances are you won’t tan anyway. Suncream protects your body against skin cancer.
What happens If I get Burned?
Aside from the obvious pain, the embarrassing red marks, and the discomfort, getting sunburned can cause nausea, diarrhoea, severe headaches, blistering, and it can really ruin your holiday or make your day in the office very uncomfortable. Use a cold damp cloth or have a cold shower after spending too much time in the sunlight, and use a good-quality aftersun that contains soothing ingredients such as aloe vera. Alternatively, coconut oil can also be used to help skin heal. If coconut is not at hand, Sudo cream works just as well and contains antibacterial agents to comfort and cool your hot skin.
Being sunburned should be a warning call to better protect your skin against deadly skin cancers
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Ireland, and according to cancer.ie, over 10,000 new cases were diagnosed here in 2013. Reduce your risk by being sun-smart and wearing high sunscreen, seek shade when the sun is at it’s hottest (11:30am – 3pm), and keep your body hydrated.
How do I know if I have skin cancer?
Cancer.ie recommend checking your skin once a month for signs of any changes in colour. A guide on how to properly check you skin for changes can be found here. Be smart about the sun, and be kind to your beautiful pale Irish skin.