Protect your skin from overexposure to the sun

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

It is that time of year again. The sun is out and so are we.

After being cooped up inside all winter, we want nothing more than to soak up the sun’s warming rays. We make plans to plant the garden, take the kids to soccer games, and maybe even squeeze in a refreshing walk.

Sometimes, however, in all our hustle and excitement we forget to think about the damage and pain that can be caused if we fail to protect our skin from too much sun exposure, and we end up with sunburn.

There are several ways to protect your skin from sun exposure:1. Stay out of the sun when it is most intense from late morning to late afternoon. 2. Wear tightly woven clothing and a wide brim hat. 3. Regularly apply broad-spectrum UVA and UVB SPF 30+ sunscreen.

Tips for proper sunscreen use:

1. Apply before you go outside.

2. Apply every two hours. Apply more frequently if you are in the water or sweating.

3. Don’t forget to apply to ears, feet and lips.

Ways to help sunburned skin:

1. Cool the skin down with a cool shower or cold compress to the area.

2. Apply a good lotion or cream to the damaged skin while it is still damp to trap in the moisture.

3. Take over the counter anti-inflammatory and pain reliever medication such as ibuprofen.

4. Consider aloe vera or even hydrocortisone 1% cream to help alleviate redness and swelling

5. Stay hydrated immediately and while your sunburn heals.

You are always encouraged to ask your pharmacist any questions about prevention or treatment of sunburn. There are many useful medications over the counter, by prescription, or even special compounded medications. Your pharmacist can discuss your conditions and educate you on the best course of treatment.

Eric Daume, Pharm. D, is a pharmacist at MediCenter Pharmacy in Cape Girardeau.