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Science of Skincare: The Stages of a Sunburn

Summer fun: two words that belong together, right? Not if you’re suffering from the toxic effects of too much sun. A sunburn is uncomfortable, painful, itchy, and annoying. For many, it is embarrassing and ugly.

In short, a sunburn is not a funburn. This is because it is a very serious health event that actually damages DNA in your epidermis.

Stage One: The Burn

You knew you were going to spend the day outside, or maybe you didn’t. In any case, you either forgot to apply enough sunscreen or didn’t apply any and now you are red. Very red.

The redness caused by a sunburn is actually a result of blood flow being directed to your skin’s surface. With the excess heat and drying sunshine, the epidermis is in crisis and needs nourishment. In order to deliver moisture and nutrients to the damaged skin, blood vessels dilate in the dermis, creating a bright red hue.

Stage Two: Inflammation

After the actually burn occurs, the epidermis reacts to the damage by swelling. This process is called erythema. Because your body is increasing blood flow for healing, it causes affected areas to swell and become hot to the touch.

Depending on the extent of damage done to the DNA of your skin by the sun, inflammation may last a short amount of time or longer.

Stage Three: Blister and Peel

Congratulations, you have reached the most attractive stage of the sunburn! In this stage, you will peel like an onion – only you are not an onion – you a person whose skin is peeling off.

Depending on the severity of the sunburn and your skin’s sensitivity, you may develop actually blistering with fluid. But, for most of us, this stage manifests as peeling.

Skin peeling is actually always happening – after a sunburn, the process of cell regeneration is accelerated. To compensate for the damage, the upper layers of the dermis create new cells called keratinocytes in the most base level. This operates as a domino effect, slowly reaching your top-most layer of skin.

Because the process is accelerated, the keratinocytes do not have time to separate and flake away as they normally do. Instead, they stick together and peel away.

Stage Four: Never Again

Even one severe sunburn in your life can increase your risk for skin cancer! Protect yourself and your skin by wearing protective clothing, sunscreen, and moisturize after you’ve been out in the sun!

Hale Cosmeceuticals can help you recover from your sunburn with a full range of skincare products. Contact us today to learn more!

 

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