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Medical What to do in case of a sun-burn?

  1. Jan 8, 2010 #1


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    I've a very white skin. Yesterday I passed a few hours under a tree in shadows. When I went back home I was surprised UV rays passed through the leaves of the tree and reached my arms, nose and more. I had used a sun protector cream for my neck but nothing else.
    My legs, arms and face are very red now. Yesterday my girlfriend put me some (feminine I guess) face cream (containing E vitamin) on the red parts of my body.
    What should I do in case of skin burning by the Sun? Should I buy a special liquid? Or is it worthless since some DNA in my cells is already damaged and nothing can cure it? Or maybe it continues to damage itself and I can reduce the damages?
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  3. Jan 8, 2010 #2


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    Your body has a whole host of DNA repair enzymes and processes that can repair damage to DNA from normal exposure to the sun and environment. I am not aware of any products that can aid in the DNA repair process nor would I recommend using any products that advertise doing so. Your body should be able to repair the damage and it should not cause any adverse health effects (i.e. skin cancer) unless you are routinely getting sunburned.

    However, to relieve the pain of a sunburn, creams containing aloe vera can be helpful. Medicated creams containing lidocaine (a pain-killing drug) can also help.
  4. Jan 8, 2010 #3


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    Ok thanks Ygggdrasil. I better save my bucks then.
  5. Jan 8, 2010 #4


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    My wife has pale skin, and she gets burned even when wearing sun-block. She relives the burn with aloe vera gel. It's not really expensive, like some skin creams can be.
  6. Jan 8, 2010 #5
    Aloe vera. There's not that much else you can do except let it heal on its own. Aloe has some antifungal and antibacterial properties, so it would be good to apply on raw broken skin. You can buy the cream or you can buy the plant and cut off the leaves.
  7. Jan 8, 2010 #6
  8. Jan 8, 2010 #7


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    Getting sunburnt when most PFers freeze in inches if not feet of snow sounds like a cruel joke.
  9. Jan 8, 2010 #8


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    I try to do my shoveling when the snow has stopped falling or at least has slowed a lot, and NOT when a cold front pushes through giving us lots of sunshine. Sunburns on days with snow-cover can be pretty bad, and if it's cold out, you may not feel it happening. I've had pretty bad sunburns on my face when working on ski-patrol. Even worse, back then sunglasses did not incorporate ANY UV protection - they just cut the brightness so that your pupils would dilate further, and let in even more UV. At 57, I have some mild cataracts starting, and I'm pretty sure why.
  10. Jan 8, 2010 #9


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    lol! ahaahahahah! Sorry about that. I live in the South Hemisphere as you know. One can see snow once a century here. I prefer temperatures below -15°C to tell the truth. If I have time and money I'd like to visit Poland.

    About the thread... ok. I don't really care to be red or if it hurts. I just care about not having any cancer. If those products can help reducing the DNA damage I'm glad. Otherwise... I don't really care. I have an aloe in my apartment. I might cut a branch.

    Edit: I think I should post a photo somewhere on the forum of my yesterday's day. I visited a small city near Cordoba in Argentina and got burn-ed/t.
  11. Jan 8, 2010 #10


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    Wow. That's a bummer. Usually it makes the burning go away.

  12. Jan 8, 2010 #11


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    It helps cut our heating bills.
  13. Jan 8, 2010 #12
    I think the worst problem with sun exposure is that it ages your skin. My face and arms look 20 years older than the rest of my body. Any given Asian my age in San Diego here also looks 20 years younger because they don't go out during the day without an umbrella.
  14. Jan 9, 2010 #13
    speaking of skin aging, from what i remember reading, most of the actual damage is done by UVA. but UVB provides most of the useful spectrum for producing vitamin D and also (i think) tanning.

    anyone know if there is a time of day that maximizes UVB exposure while minimizing UVA? or a link to a graph the two versus time and maybe latitude or something?
  15. Jan 10, 2010 #14
    Not exactly. UVA messes up collagen, and that will make you look older, but UVB damages DNA which induces cancer (as well as inducing a tan and creating vitamin D).
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2010
  16. Jan 10, 2010 #15


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    You can get sunburned in the shadow. If your skin is fair you should wear a high-factor sunblock, that's the only way to prevent damage to your skin. There may be after-sun lotions that enhance cellular repair, but I am not aware of the proven effects.

    Here is a paper from 2005 that puts forth a new application of DNA repair reagents:
    After sun reversal of DNA damage: enhancing skin repair.
  17. Jan 10, 2010 #16
  18. Jan 12, 2010 #17

    So it is true that "mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun".

    I recall many years ago having a job on a railroad shoveling snow away from the switch gear. I was warned this would happen, but, of course in the brashness of youth, did not protect myself. I got a terrific sunburn under my chin and in places where the reflected light shone upon me.
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