Tag Archives: Sunburn

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You’re Missing The Mark With Your Sunscreen

You may have seen the “epic sunscreen fails” on social media. Those are those pictures of the suntans that start below the shorts, the weird patterns across the back, the white marks left from the brim of a hat on an otherwise red face. Why is it that we’re so bad at applying sun screen? Is it some ancient art that humans are not capable of mastering? Bad sunscreen application can be amusing, but it can also be dangerous. After all, we are using it to protect ourselves. If you find yourself among the sunscreen application impaired, here are a few areas you want to keep in mind the next time you find yourself charged with slathering on the SPF.

Skin Around Eyes and Eyelids
The skin around the eyes in the thinnest and most delicate on the body and eyelid cancer accounts for 5-10% of all skin cancer. According to Dr. Anjali Mahto, spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation, “Sunglasses are your best defense. Choose quality glasses that protect against both UVA and UVB rays and cover as much of the eye area as possible.” She adds that no malignant skin cancers are quite common, and surgery for their removal can be disfiguring. If the thought of sunscreen getting into your eyes is unattractive, you must sport your sunnies.

Parts
The scalp is another target for skin cancer, and cancer can often go undetected there because it’s a spot that is so hard to monitor. Dr. Mahto says,” Men with thinning hair should wear a hat and make sure sunscreen is applied to the hairline.” Pigtail and braid wearers should also be wary. If you have a severe part in your hair, your scalp will be vulnerable.

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Tips and Behind Ears
Dr. Mahto calls these high-risk areas and reports them as a common site for freckling. Says she, “(Freckling) is more common in men than in women, but everyone should be vigilant. The ears are the third most common place on the body to develop basal cell carcinomas.”

Tops of Hands and Backs of Feet
Many of us already have a horror of aging hands, and the sun will not be much help in this department. With hands, you’re not only at risk for wrinkles and dehydration but an increased risk for age spots. Be kind to your feet, as well. Remember that they haven’t seen the sun all year and are likely to be more prone to a bad burn when exposed.

The Decolletage
Another area of aging concern, the décolletage is often a target for overexposure (to the sun, that is). Dr. Mahto gives specific directions for this part of the body. “The easiest way to ensure this area is properly protected is to apply your sun cream before you get dressed,” she says. “That way you don’t have to work around bra or bikini straps. This is a part of the body that gets full exposure all summer, so use a high SPF regularly.”

Word to the wise….
If exercise or a hobby means that you are spending a lot of time outdoors, Dr. Mahto advises, “The legs are the most common site for melanoma in women, so don’t forget your SPF before you go for your run.” If sweating under your sunscreen is an issue, choose a lightweight formula that doesn’t block pores.

Are you among the sunscreen application challenged? If so, let us know the spots we’re likely to miss!

Woman walking along beach

Why Makeup and Sunburn Don’t Mix

Have you ever heard the expression two wrongs don’t make a right? Perhaps someone should have warned one woman that she about to find out how true that saying is before she learned from her own experience. Recently, a Reddit post showing before and after photos of a woman sporting a sunburn went viral. In the before pic, the woman is shown sans makeup so as to give the viewer an up close view of what a painful sunburn looks like. The after picture shows the same woman after using a full coverage foundation. The result? One might believe they were looking at a skincare advert; the signs of sunburn untraceable; the woman’s skin dewy and soft.

The viewer response? Overwhelmingly positive. Headlines declared, “This is the best foundation for covering sunburn! It completely conceals sun damage!” The response from the dermatological community? A little less so. Even though foundation may provide a great way to cover the symptoms of a sunburn, it actually hinders the healing process.

Woman applying sunscreen

Sunburnt Skin Needs to Heal
Dermatologist Dendy Engelman weighs in on the post saying, “Extremely burnt skin is damaged and needs time to heal. Applying makeup, especially if it has chemicals and irritants, can cause more inflammation to the skin. You want your skin to heal properly and quickly. It’s more important to focus on products that soothe and combat damage.”

Alternative
Even though hiding the inflammation and redness may seem to be the priority, Dr. Engelman advises emphasizing proper skin care over minimizing the burn’s appearance. “Apply some aloe to help cool and heal and use a product with antioxidants to combat all the free radical damage,” she says. If coverage is important, the doctor advises using powder based makeup which goes on more smoothly and is less irritating to damaged skin.

Woman soaking in bath

Two Rights
Fortunately, if you have added insult to injury by first allowing yourself to burn and then trying to conceal it, there is an all in one solution for both problems: apple cider vinegar. Just add a cupful or two to a bath and soak for 10 minutes. Dr. Engelman says that this ingredient will soothe the skin while balancing its pH level.

Avoiding Sunburn
Of course, the best way to avoid the ill-advised use of makeup to conceal a burn is to not get a burn at all. So let’s take a moment to review the ways of doing just that:

  • Always Wear Sunscreen
    Always wear a broadband sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it 15 to 20 minutes before venturing out in the sun. Once out, reapply every two hours, especially if you’ve been swimming or sweating. Apply to all parts of your body, including the part in your hair and the tops of your ears.
  • Wear Protective Clothing
    If you’re really serious about blocking the sun’s rays, you need to make sure you wear clothes that you can’t see your hand through. Sheer fabrics will not provide enough coverage Wear a hat to block the sun from your face and wear sunglasses to protect eyes from UV rays.
  • Avoid the Sun When It Is Hottest
    The sun is at its strongest between ten in the morning and four in the afternoon. Try to avoid the sun during these hours and take frequent shade breaks to keep from prolonged exposure. Be especially diligent about rules during these hours.

Let us know what you do when you get an unavoidable sunburn? How do you stay safe while looking great?