Sunburns can be painful and debilitating, but they are also a form of natural protection from the sun. When you sweat or swim in chlorine water, your skin is vulnerable to UV rays. It’s important to know how long does a sunburn take to heal before exposing yourself again!
How do you get a sunburn?
A sunburn is a result of improper exposure to the sun over an extended period of time. It is important to know that it is not just sunlight that can cause a sunburn, but UV rays in general. A person’s skin type and their geographical location will also affect the severity of their sunburn.
The following factors are all signifiers of severe sun damage: freckles, age spots, snowflake-shaped lentigines, coarse wrinkles, deep grooves in the skin, lumps under the skin.
Skin type is a predominant factor in how long the sunburn will take to heal. The Fitzpatrick scale was created by dermatologist Gordon J. Fritchey and Alice E, D’Arcy Hall in 1970 as an easy way of categorizing skin types given different climates.
The following list ranks the six categories from most susceptible to least vulnerable:
Type I (Always burns): Red hair with fair skin that freckles easily, usually blue or hazel eyes; always burns, never tans
Type II (Usually Burns): Fair skin color that has blotchy pink cheeks when exposed to sunlight for too long; can burn if not wearing sunscreen but generally fades into tan eventually without scarring or peeling
Type III (Sometimes Burns): White skin with a light brown tan, freckles are rare; usually burns but not for very long periods of time
Type IV (Rarely Burns): Tan skin that is prone to sunburns only after prolonged exposure and never gets much darker than the natural color of their skin
Type V (Never Burns): Dark black or dark brown pigments in the epidermis make it difficult for UV radiation to penetrate deeply enough into the dermis. This might result in burning rather quickly if exposed to sunlight without protection as these people can still feel pain from ultraviolet rays. The pigment protects them somewhat from developing cancerous cells on those areas of un-pigmented tissue near melanin granules which produces more melanin.
Type VI (Never Burns): Black skin with a protective pigment due to the high amount of melanin in their epidermis which blocks out UV radiation all together. A black person’s natural color does not change and they are not susceptible to sunburns or cancerous cells on un-pigmented tissue near melanin granules.
How long will sunburn take to heal?
Each body has a unique physiology and will heal at different rates. Sunburns cause oxidative damage to the skin when there is overexposure to UV radiation. This can lead to inflammation, soreness, or peeling. Sunburns are worst when they happen in infancy as this is when the skin is most sensitive and the pain lasts. For adults, sunburns typically take around 3-5 days before it heals on its own. Antioxidants such as Vitamin A, C, and E can accelerate the healing process for people with a sunburn by mitigating the oxidative damage. However, some people will experience complications where scars can form from a sunburn due to their skin’s pigment or other preexisting conditions such as eczema.
How do you take care of the sunburn?
The time period for how long it will take someone who has been burned by the sun depends on many factors, but typically taking care of a burn includes two main steps:
Rinsing off salt water using fresh water so that the salt is dissolved from your skin; Patting dry any remaining water on your body with clean towel. This should be done after every swim session when you spend time in the sun.
To soothe a burn, one can take care of their skin by applying aloe vera gel to it; this is helpful because it has anti-inflammatory properties and helps prevent infection while providing comfort for irritation as well as moisturizing dry spots on your body more easily than lotion would.
One should apply sunscreen before going outside regardless of whether or not they have been burned when spending any significant amount of time in the sun. This will help you avoid being burned again!
Also, be sure to drink plenty of fluids (water!) throughout the day if your skin becomes overly dry from all that hot sunshine!