Have you seen the trending internet story about the man who got a dent in his head from a sunburn?
Yes, he had so much swelling he could push on his skin and make a dent! His skin filled up like a water balloon because of the sun poisoning to the skin.
Take a look.
I am so glad he shared his photos and story! Also, scroll down the page and see the photos of other people who had severe swelling from sunburns.
Sun is not good for human skin.
It’s good for plants, and we all feel happier when we are outside on a sunny day. But, sun is not good for your skin.
What happens when you get a sunburn?
The redness and pain that you see and experience on your skin is the result of a cascade of inflammation occurring inside your skin. This inflammation is triggered by exposure to more ultra violet rays (or, UV) than your skin can tolerate. You can soothe the pain to make your skin feel more comfortable, but the inflammation and redness still have to run their course.
The Pathophysiology Process of a Sunburn
- Redness, typically starting 6 hours after UVB exposure and peaking at 12-24 hours. The more extreme the sun exposure, the faster the reaction occurs (i.e. really fair skin on a sandy equatorial beach at noon!).
- Tenderness of the skin follows the redness.
- Swelling (edema) of the skin.
- Blistering happens in the extreme.
- Peeling occurs in a week, even without blistering.
- Severe exposure can lead to generalized symptoms including:
- Rapid heart rate and even dangerously low blood pressure.
These generalized symptoms can last up to a week and can become a medical emergency.
You can help reduce skin swelling by using cool compresses and keeping the swollen area elevated so that the fluids drain into the circulation and are removed by the kidneys.
Think of a sunburn as a UV overdose, poisoning or sickness. Like poisoning, nothing good comes of it.
In the recovery phase following a sunburn, the skin appears to heal visually but is forever changed. The more frequent and severe the burns, the more damage there will be.
In the worst case, this means an increased risk for melanoma (the “big C” skin cancer). Five or more blistering sunburns between the ages of 15 to 20 can increase the risk of getting melanoma by as much as 80 percent.
It can increase the risk of getting non-melanoma skin cancer by almost 70 percent.
That sunburn also means permanent sunburn freckles and more wrinkles are in the skin’s future.
Medicines can make a sunburn reaction worse!
Looking at the photos in the article, I would say the people may also have had a phototoxic or photo allergic
reaction to the sun, too.
That means that the UV rays also created a rash on top of the sunburn. This can happen when you take medicines like tetracyclines, sulfa drugs, naproxene (Aleve), diuretics like hydrochlorothiazide, and other medicines that are “activated” by UV exposure (called a photo-drug reaction).
The activation of the medicine by UV intensify the redness, edema and bad reaction in the skin. It is one of the reasons why we dermatologists are on such a soap box about sun exposure – good for plants and your emotional well-being, not so good for human skin.
It’s best to sun protect the skin when you are outside.
To learn more about sunburn care, download my FREE SUNBURN GUIDE EBOOK here
. If I can save even one of my readers from this fate, it is a job well done in my opinion.
To learn how I recommend you protect your skin while enjoying the sunny outdoors, click here to see my FREE sun protection advice.
It's how I do it and what I teach my patients (i.e., my soap box spiel that I'm sure they can all imitate me doing with passion.) (Hint, it’s not all about sunscreen, there are even more clever ways to protect your skin while soaking up the well-being benefits of enjoying a sunny day.)
Again, if I can teach you to take good care of your skin, I will die happy!
Please, enjoy the sunny and lovely outdoors - but keep the UV off of your skin!
Want more tips on sunburn protection? Check out my favorite products here.
IMAGE: CADE HUCKABAY/TWITTER