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Dr Alex George gives advice on sunburn and suncream in 2021

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Doctor Ross Perry, a skin specialist, revealed four “important” steps you need to take as soon as you realise you are sunburned. “The sun in May is as strong as it is in August, so you must treat it as such,” the doctor began. “People can often be fooled by the cooler breeze, central georgia internal medicine but the UV rays are just as strong, and just as likely to cause sunburn and sun damage.” Doctor Perry said the “most important thing” to do once you’ve realised you are getting burnt is to “get out of the sun immediately”.

Next, the “best thing to do is apply moisturising lotions, such as aloe vera or other soothing aftersun lotions”.

A soothing lotion needs to applied to the damaged skin “every two hours” following the burn.

Doctor Perry added: “It is also important to treat the sunburn with a cold flannel after the initial few hours after the burn.

“Once it has got past four to six hours, then carry on applying regular moisturising creams.”

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If the sunburn stings, Doctor Perry recommends taking anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen.

Four important ways to treat sunburn:

  • Get out of the sun immediately
  • Apply moisturising lotions, such as aloe vera
  • Treat the burn with a cold flannel
  • Take ibuprofen.

“But prevention is always better than cure,” Doctor Perry emphasised. “An SPF should definitely be used during spring months and indeed all the year round.”

What SPF should I use?

Doctor Perry recommends SPF50, “particularly if you are fair skinned.”

“Detractors of this often express concerns about vitamin D and needing sunlight for this,” Doctor Perry highlighted.

“However, regular exposure of your arms and legs during regular exercise, two to three times a week, will be more than sufficient to accumulate enough vitamin D.”

Doctor Perry stated: “The ideal scenario is to apply sunblock 15 minutes before going out into high-intensity sunlight.

“If you are regularly applying sunscreen every two to three hours then hopefully that will allow you to expose your skin to the all day sun.”

Yet, during the times between 11am to 2pm, Doctor Perry advises staying out of the intense sunshine.

“This intensity of sunlight is almost certainly able to penetrate the sunscreen,” he cautioned.

All skin types can experience sunburn, so no matter the shade of your skin, wearing high SPF is advised.

People also need to be aware of any mole that bleeds, or changes in its size or colouring.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, so Doctor Perry encourages people to get any changing moles checked out by their doctor.

Do not wait for any changing mole to change drastically; it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you are offered an appointment with a nurse, make sure you check with the receptionist that the nurse has the ability to refer you to hospital if they are concerned about your changing mole.

Doctor Ross Perry is a skin specialist who works at skin clinics chain Cosmedics.

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