The quest for a sublime golden tan sometimes leads us to excessive sun exposure . Result ? It's not a wonderful tanned complexion that you're sporting, but a reddened complexion : you've got a sunburn. How to protect your skin from unsightly redness while illuminating it with satin pigments induced by the sun ?
1. Between a tan and a sunburn, there is only one step: we explain the whole mechanism to you.
In search of the perfect tan , you expose yourself to the sun . Yes, but here it is, this big luminous ball which lights up the sky and which you thought would be beneficial for your complexion is in fact considered as an attack by your body . The latter then deploys its best physiological weapon , its natural protective shield to fight effectively against solar aggression and its harmful effects : melanin . The mela-what? It's actually quite simply the pigment that colors your skin . Its superpower is that of absorbing the sun's rays . Therefore, as long as sun exposure remains reasonable and protected, you can enjoy the pigmenting benefits of the sun on your skin .
But it sometimes happens, due to laziness, simple forgetfulness or the desire to tan faster, that you leave the sunscreen aside. Eager for an ever more intense tan , you subject your skin to excessive or prolonged exposure to the sun's ultraviolet UVB rays . In this case you create an imbalance: the army of melanin which protects your body is in insufficient quantity to defend itself against the multitude of powerful rays which arrive at it. The skin then burns more or less seriously, creating an inflammatory reaction .
The corps then mobilized a defense team that had until then remained on the sidelines. A large number of small substances called anti-inflammatory are released into the body towards the inflamed area to dilate the blood vessels . This helps dissipate heat by increasing blood circulation to the affected area of skin . It is this significant influx of blood that gives this red color commonly called sunburn or solar erythema . Still with the aim of cooling , the blood capillaries will release water , which, as it rises to the surface, will put pressure on the nerve endings , hence the pain . If the sunburn is very severe, this water will form blisters on the epidermis.
But who are the lucky little ones who will sport a tomato-colored complexion this summer ? People with light phototypes are the most affected. Generally, if you have blonde or red hair , pale skin and freckles , you are part of this category of individuals who will never be jealous for their golden complexion . Be careful though if you haven't exposed yourself for a long time! Young children also remain the most susceptible to the harmful effects of exposure .
2. Identification of the attackers: ultraviolet rays.
When the sun shines, it emits radiation . 39% of this radiation is visible . 56% of these are infrared rays and 5% are ultraviolet rays (UVs). It is to the latter that we attribute tanning and sunburn even if they are, in part, stopped by the atmosphere and the ozone layer .
There are 3 types of ultraviolet :
- No. 1: UVA
These are the vast majority, 95% of UVs. Nothing stops them, not even clouds and windows. They only burn the superficial layers of the skin very little (a thousand times less than UVBs ), preferring to reach out to the deeper layers of the epidermis to say a little destructive hello to the fibers , elastins and collagens of the dermis. Deep down, it brings together other enemies of our skin: free radicals . Together, they form a demonic tribe massively attacking the skin : in the best case, it ages prematurely , in the worst case, certain cells become defective and cause cancer . We could say to ourselves, with all these faults, perhaps these little UVA rays at least make us tan ? Well, that's not even the case. They actually oxidize the melanin already present in our skin cells , without stimulating its production. This manifests itself in an almost immediate pigmentation of the skin , but unfortunately this tan is only very short-lived and disappears as quickly as it came.
- No. 2: UVB
In small numbers ( 5% of UVs ) and yet they remain no less ferocious. They radiate directly onto the epidermis on the surface of the skin or by reverberation . Only 10% of them reach the deeper layers of the skin . They are responsible for tanning by stimulating the synthesis of melanin with a so-called delayed effect, occurring 48 hours to 72 hours after exposure but continuing over time for your greatest happiness. Unfortunately, every good thing brings its share of problems and UVBs are also the main culprits of skin burns ( sunburns ). Fortunately, they are easily stopped by clouds and glass , so it is easier to protect yourself from them than from UVA .
- No. 3: UVC.
They are very few in number (<1% of UV rays) and are almost completely filtered by the ozone layer ! Nature is so well done, because they are the most harmful .
3. When the sun beats down, your skin takes a hit.
Exposure to the sun is not without consequences: burns , allergies , premature aging , cancer and health problems , etc. It's always good to know the risks you run when the sun hits your skin . Because when we hit, we inflict irreversible blows, not just sunburn .
- 1st degree burn, superficial but not trivial.
Between the 6th and 24th after being exposed to the sun , and in particular to UVBs , your skin reddened intensely but there were no blisters . When you press on the affected area, the redness disappears. It also makes you a little itchy . Look no further, you have a 1st degree superficial sunburn . Your skin will surely peel ( desquamation ) then in 3 to 5 days , it will be healed! You will not have any traces of this unfortunate incident: no pigment spots or scars .
- Superficial 2nd degree burn
Ouch ouch ouch, you have just spent your afternoon spread out like a pancake on your beach towel, in full sun and without sunscreen . You are at the moment of regret, a few hours after the exposure . Your skin is not only red but unsightly dotted with blisters ( phlyctenes ) filled with a transparent liquid, for a very unglamorous skin appearance. And what's more, you are suffering from terrible pain . You try to press on your skin with your finger and it turns white . Everything comes together to diagnose you with a 2nd degree surface l burn .
You will have to be patient because it can take between 10 and 15 days before it disappears. But rest assured, apart from the dark spots that are slow to disappear, you will only keep the painful memory of this burn : no scars expected!
- Deep 2nd degree burn
After sunbathing , you notice the appearance of blisters on your skin which remains pale . You don't feel any pain . Counterintuitively, this is more alarming than if your skin was red and causing you pain ! You have reached the stage where the sun has destroyed your blood vessels and nerve endings , which explains why the skin has remained white and painless . Prepare to live with these burns for a month before healing . A stay with your blisters that will forever mark your mind and your body with scars . The desquamation will give way to a layer of slightly pink and particularly fragile skin.
- Benign Summer Lucite
You've probably heard someone say "I'm allergic to the sun ." You may not have believed it, but it happens more often than you think. In medical jargon, this is called a lucite . And this time, the main defendants are the UVAs and not the UVBs . The reaction is very rapid , upon exposure to the sun and manifests itself by an rash of small pimples and itchy red patches visible on the neckline, upper back, forearms and legs. Over the years, the reaction tends to get worse, especially among women.
Phototoxic or photoallergic reaction
The royal combo? Allergic terrain + cosmetic or medicinal product + exposure to the sun = phototoxic reaction. This type of allergy causes a painful “ severe sunburn ” type of skin redness . It is triggered by solar exposure (even weak) whose radiation interacts with the chemical molecules of an ingested medication or an applied cosmetic product (cream, deodorant, perfume, essential oil). Simply stop the offending product or exposure so that the symptoms gradually disappear.
- Skin aging
The sun, particularly UVA, damages the skin 's supporting proteins : fibers , elastin , collagen . The skin sags and wrinkles , allowing wrinkles to form gradually and especially prematurely. Also, these rays induce the massive production of free radicals which disrupt the secretion of melanin , revealing pigmentation defects: areas which tan less well or, conversely, which take on a darker color than natural skin.
- Skin cancer including melanoma
The sun can leave indelible marks. When it reaches the skin , it reaches the cells and damages the DNA it contains and which is in fact the blueprint of each individual. Fortunately, there is a whole battery of enzymes that can repair the damage. But repairs are never perfect. As a result, as sunburns continue, the DNA is increasingly damaged . As the cells read this DNA , this blueprint, to multiply and the body begins to produce defective cells which can become cancerous . This photo-induced cancer is also the most common with 70,000 new cases per year . It is all the more common in certain people at risk:
- for whom tanning is difficult
- who have freckles
- who have more than 40 moles, some of which are larger than 5 mm,
- who have a family history of melanoma
- who had repeated sunburns during childhood
- who have lived for a long time in a country with high solar exposure
- who have a lifestyle or profession that exposes them to the sun
- who began to be exposed to artificial UV rays before the age of 30
So if you have a suspicious spot , a mole that is different from the others or that has changed in appearance, do not hesitate and consult a doctor.
- Sun-related health problems
Finally, there are many health problems related to the sun.
“Wear your cap ” is one of the phrases that was repeated to you the most during your childhood. And for good reason, even if it annoys you, the intention was good: when your head is exposed directly to the sun , the consequences can be terrible: violent headaches , drowsiness , nausea , possibly loss of consciousness and/or fever elevated, sometimes accompanied by skin burns .
When the sun comes out, you swear by the glasses on the terraces, the soft rays of the sun warmly touching your face. You will be surprised to learn that alcohol is not water and therefore, it does not hydrate . On the contrary, this alcoholic beverage that you consume promotes dehydration . So in summer , we favor the best drink in the world, the 100% aqueous. Also, this phenomenon of dehydration is very common in children who do not think about hydrating themselves, so it is necessary to monitor them closely.
> Eye diseases
Sunglasses have become a real fashion accessory . They are meticulously selected for their frames which should highlight your face and make you a star for an instant. But their function is not simply aesthetic . Their lenses protect your eyes from the eye damage of the sun . Because did you know that it is possible to get a sunburn on the cornea ? This attack on the eye which bears the sweet name of ophthalmia is very common in the mountains , due to reflection from the sun . But that's not all, the eye can suffer inflammation ( keratitis ) at the level of the superficial part of the eyeball , therefore the iris and the white part which surrounds it. Finally, UV radiation can damage the retina and cause cataracts . So facing the sun, draw out your most beautiful weapon, your favorite accessory, I name it: your sunglasses!
> Reactivation of the herpes virus
The sun heats your face and awakens a deeply sleeping virus : herpes . So, if you've had this type of cold sore before, by exposing yourself, you're more likely to see it say hello again.
4. Prevention is better than cure
> Sun cream
The best way to protect yourself remains the application of an effective sunscreen , 30 minutes before exposure to be renewed every 2 hours and after each swim . The index is important and you must choose one adapted to your skin type. Thus, children and people with a light phototype will opt for the maximum protection index SPF50+ while less sensitive skin will enjoy the luxury of a lower index SPF30 .
> Exposure time
Between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m., the sun's rays reach their peak in terms of heat and are therefore more aggressive for the skin . It is therefore preferable to exhibit outside of this time slot.
> Exposure duration
Skin that does not often see the sun or has not seen it for a long time must be reaccustomed to it with short exposures of around twenty minutes.
> Critical age
For the youngest , it is better to generously spread them with total sunscreen and protect them from the sun by minimizing exposure time.
In case of prolonged exposure, we advise you to wear a t-shirt, a hat and sunglasses in addition to applying sunscreen .
> Food supplements
There are molecules which act as photoprotectors and which reduce the impact of UV rays on the skin as well as the associated damage . This is the case, for example, for lycopene . Even more impressive, turmeric has been shown in several studies to have a potential role in the treatment of melanoma . You will find these two fabulous ingredients in our passionately delicious chewable tablets : Absolu Solar .
Don't panic, healing from a sunburn comes naturally within a few weeks of the damage.
Already stop all sun exposure until complete healing. If you have no choice, protect yourself by wearing your best protective clothing (even under the parasol ) and by delicately spreading factor 50 sunscreen on your beautifully (or not) reddened body.
If your sunburn is not very extensive and without blisters , there are many products to soothe the burn ( after-sun ) to be applied in layers at least 1 to 6 times a day.
On the other hand, if you have blisters , the number 1 rule is not to puncture them as this risks making the situation worse and leaving marks. We advise you to disinfect with a product based on aqueous chlorhexidine then apply a hydrocolloid dressing to clean, dry skin and change it daily until healing .
If you suffer from unpleasant itching , nothing better than a hydrocortisone cream to apply twice a day for a maximum of 3 days.
Finally, to fade photo-induced pigment spots , do not hesitate to use the first complexion unifier in the form of refreshing chewable tablets : Absolu+ White .
The sun. It is preferred to rain although it is the greatest destroyer of your skin. The main thing to protect yourself from is to not overdo it, because, as with everything, excess is bad for your skin health. Reasonably exposed and protected, you will benefit from its super tanning power. Otherwise you will suffer its burning anti-power. With this article, you have all the weapons in hand to adorn yourself with a sublime tan in complete safety.