The Peril of UV: SUNBURN, a guide by Dr. David Jack


Sunburn is essentially a radiation burn to the skin from UV rays from the sun. The depth of the burn depends on the time and exposure to the sun - mostly it would be a superficial depth burn (in America this would be described as first or second degree), which causes erythema (redness due to increased blood flow and inflammation on the skin) and sometimes blistering. 

How can you best treat sunburn?

Cucumber, lemon

This depends on the depth of the burn but generally, it will be by cooling and soothing the skin with a vitamin E based cream or with aloe vera. Depending on how extensive the burn is, particularly if a large area is burnt then you should be careful to drink plenty of water, as higher surface area burns can cause the blood pressure to drop (and even hypovolemic shock in cases where burns are over 18% of the body surface area). Any burns where the skin is blistered or broken should be treated with an antiseptic ointment such as savlon.

Maintaining a good fluid intake is important in the recovery period following any burn and sunburn is no exception. You should aim to drink around 3L water per day, and ideally added electrolytes to cover any losses. My Skinfusion micronutrient drink is ideal for this as it contains a bespoke blend of vitamins and micronutrients which help the skin recover.

What ingredients are ideal for restoring the skin barrier?

sun protection

The key to quick recovery from sunburn is that infection is prevented in any area that the skin is broken, as the skin will restore its own barrier. Antiseptic is important for this but it is also important that nothing irritating or exfoliating is used on the skin whenever a burn is fresh and healing, so things like vitamin C, retinol and AHAs should all be avoided, in favour of vitamin E and other calming ingredients. Likewise, maintaining a good internal environment to promote healing with plenty of antioxidants and protein, such as those found in SkinShake.

What is the best way to avoid sunburn?

sunburn skincare

It sounds obvious but the easiest way to avoid sunburn is by avoiding excessive exposure to the sun! Covering up with light materials that block UV is important and using a high grade SPF such as All Day Long in exposed areas is essential. Areas such as the hands, neck, ears and feet are often forgotten, so make sure you remember to apply to these areas!