On Burn Notice
Is your burn baby still burning? “It’s important to explain to clients that sun is a radiation, and its effects on the skin are as if you’re in an oven—UVB rays topically burn skin, but UVA/UVB rays’ free-radical damage goes deeper,” says Dr. Murad. He cites a lengthy list of consequences: first, sunburn and irritation; then tanning; dilated blood vessels; solar elastocisis (loss of elasticity); pre-cancerous lesions; and eventually skin cancer. “On a cellular level, free-radical damage causes cells to explode and leak water; the cells die,” Dr. Murad laments.
Once she’s burnt to a crisp, there’s little she can do to undo the long-term damage. Instead, she can address the short-term: hydrating skin (avoiding bath salts, oils and perfumes) with soothe operators that incorporate antioxidants to do a little re-con on injured cells and addressing discomfort. “To take the heat off, I suggest soothing vinegar soaks and taking ibuprofen to decrease inflammation,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Amy Derick M.D. of Derick Dermatology in Barrington, Illinois. She warns against additional sun exposure—no matter how tempting—plus scrubbing, shaving and peeling (another tempter!), and adds this chilling truth: “Although decreasing inflammation post-burn makes the symptoms more tolerable, it doesn’t negate the fact that she experienced UV-induced damage associated with sunburn.”