Summer is upon us and many people will indulge in outdoor activities or simply sunbathe without sufficiently protecting themselves. The result: a sunburn!
This topic is rather broad, so in this article, we will focus on its description, what it does to our skin, the process for repairing our skin, and the products we have to help you.
What is sunburn?
Sunburn differs significantly from thermal burns. Although infrared radiation gives the sun its warmth, it is not the heat of the sun that burns our skin. In fact, sunburn is an acute skin reaction caused by too much exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. This reaction manifests with skin redness, swelling, and characteristic pain. The skin reacts by triggering complex chemical reactions that cause these familiar symptoms.
Have you ever wondered why some people get sunburned more often than other people? This is not only due to the absence of sunscreen or the duration of sun exposure. There are also several other factors such as skin pigmentation, skin types, and medications such as certain antibiotics or even certain contraceptives. We will be outlining more of these details in a future blog post.
Just like rays of light (colours) and infrared rays (heat), ultraviolet rays are part of the so-called electromagnetic spectrum (see table below). Ultraviolet rays are invisible to our eyes, but they contain much more energy and can be dangerous. In fact, the energy of ultraviolet radiation can damage the molecules of our skin, especially DNA.
Too much sun exposure causes cascading reactions that lead to the inflammation of our skin. Generally, this reaction occurs only within 4 to 6 hours. The symptoms of sunburn do not appear until well after the exposure to the sun. It is the production of prostaglandins and cytokines that lead to localized dilation of skin blood vessels and the recruitment of inflammatory cells. This causes redness, swelling of our skin, and typical sunburn pain. The feeling of heat from a sunburn comes from increased blood flow to the place where the skin is damaged.
Other consequences of sunburn: damage to DNA can also lead to the destruction of the skin cells involved. This is one of the reasons why the skin peels off after a sunburn.
Once the damage is done, our body, fortunately, has the ability to regenerate itself. Our system triggers a series of reactions to repair damaged DNA after ultraviolet exposure and to create new epithelial cells. This is how a new "skin" appears and the old "skin" peels off.
Although our body has the ability to repair sunburn damage, it is important to keep in mind that the more we damage our skin, the greater the risk of developing skin cancer.
There is no substitute for prevention, sunscreen and moderate sun exposure. We must prevent before we heal!
However, if you are struggling with sunburn, we have two products that can help.
Topical Organic Aloe Vera Gel
|Traditionally used to help relieve burns, including sunburn, Aloe vera is known for its moisturizing properties. Aloe vera also contains active ingredients that help reduce inflammation and others that help speed up skin repair. This product will become your best friend.|
Organic Black Cumin Oil
|Certified organic and cold-pressed, this premium oil is known for its cosmetic properties. Its two main active components (nigellin and nigellone) are the subject of much research. This oil quickly reduces inflammation and helps to heal the affected skin. Its effects are surprising.|
Please contact us if you have any questions about this subject. Our mission is your well-being!
By Michael Deslandes and Nicolas Martineau
1. Sunburns and risk of cutaneous melanoma, does age matter: a comprehensive meta-analysis; Leslie K. Dennis, M.S., Ph.D.,1 Marta J. VanBeek, M.D., M.P.H.,2 Laura E. Beane Freeman, Ph.D.,1 Brian J. Smith, Ph.D.,3 Deborah V. Dawson, Ph.D.,3,4 and Julie A. Coughlin, M.P.H.1
2. CXCL5 Mediates UVB Irradiation–Induced Pain; John M. Dawes,1 Margarita Calvo,1,* James R. Perkins,2,* Kathryn J. Paterson,1,* Hannes Kiesewetter,1 Carl Hobbs,1 Timothy K. Y. Kaan,1 Christine Orengo,2 David L. H. Bennett,1,3 and Stephen B. McMahon1,†
3. "Sunburn – Topic Overview". Healthwise. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
4. Protective effect against sunburn of combined systemic ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and d-α-tocopherol (vitamin E); Bernadette Eberlein-König, MDMarianne Placzek, MD Bernhard Przybilla, MD
5. Sunburn; Karla C. Guerra, Jonathan S. Crane, NCBI Bookshelf, January 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534837/