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We wanted to open this article by saying most of us in 2015 are sun conscious, but we’ve just read an alarming statistic that proves the opposite.
A recent study showed that most Australians still believe that sunburn mostly happens on hot, sunny summer days.
Over a third of people (37%) didn’t feel protection from the sun was necessary on cloudy days or doing everyday activities such as the gardening, BBQs or walking. And almost a third (30%) said that it’s never occurred to them to get a regular skin check.
So if you do find yourself accidentally sunburned this summer, there are a few things you can do to reduce the severity.
We spoke to clinical dermatologist and president of the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc, Chris Baker, to find out the best way to recover from sunburn (and stop it from happening in the first place).
The best approach to sunburn is to prevent it happening in the first place. We all need to be aware when sunburn might be a risk and to predict risk times. It’s easy to be caught out and to find you are outside longer than expected or in unexpected sunshine. Be careful of bright cloudy days and sunny cool days. We don’t associate these conditions with sunburn but there is still a risk of high UV exposure. The message is cover up – seek shade, wear a hat and clothing and apply sun screen to exposed skin and don’t forget sunglasses.
If sunburn does occur, it will run its course. Mild sunburn will get better over 1 to 2 days if you keep out of the sun. Simple soothing treatments such as cool compresses and a moisturising cream are all that is needed. There is some evidence that the early use of an anti inflammatory medication (such as a NSAID) may reduce the severity and duration of sunburn, however medical advice is recommended. If sunburn is severe, blistering can occur and you can become unwell. Medical attention is needed and, if very severe, admission to hospital may be required.