A sunburn occurs when the epidermis is burned by exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays at a level greater than the skin’s resistance. Sunburns are usually first degree burns that cause the affected region to become red and hot to the touch, followed by flaking (peeling) of the burned area a few days later. People with light skin can have second-degree sunburns, which can be identified by the rapid appearance of blisters. Repeated sunburns, especially in light-skinned people, increase the risk of skin cancer and accelerate the skin’s aging process.
|Flaking:elimination of the stratum corneum (horny layer) of the epidermis|
Good sun protection can considerably reduce the harmful effects of the sun on the skin (burns, cancer, skin’s aging process, etc.), especially in children and light-skinned people. Here are some recommandations to follow, particularly during the hottest times of the year and while on trips to the mountain or tropical countries. These precautions also apply when the sky is overcast since ultraviolet rays can cross through the cloud layer.
The sun’s rays are strongest when it is at its zenith (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). The best protection against the sun is to avoid exposing your skin to it during these hours. Otherwise, it is imperative that you protect yourself as much as possible.
For effective protection of your body from the sun, wear a hat, sunglasses, and clothing that covers your legs and arms. Dark clothes block ultraviolet rays better than light-colored clothes.
Apply sunscreen to the exposed and sensitive parts of your body (especially your face, neck, and ears). Choose a lotion with a high sun protection factor (SPF) and apply it at least 20 minutes before exposing yourself to the sun. In the case of extended exposure, reapply at least every two hours, particularly after going in the water.
Babies under the age of 6 months should not be exposed to direct sunlight.