Sunburn on Skin of Colour
Believe or not, black skin does experience sunburn.
Depending on your natural skin colour, you could see full on redness of your skin or if you’re darker, it could be the darkening of your skin. Either way, it’s a sign that you’ve had extreme exposure to UV rays, notably UVB rays that are responsible for burning the skin.
What does sunburn look like?
Darker skin tones will go darker and the area will feel hot and painful. Your skin may appear dry and cracked. This can range from mild to severe. In the latter cases, you could also experience swelling and after a few days you will start to experience peeling and blisters as your body tries to get rid of the damaged cells.
It is possible to experience flu like symptoms to too – fever, chills, headaches and feeling lethargic.
How to heal a sunburn
· Apply a cold compress using a flannel soaked in cold water or take a cold shower to provide soothing relief.
· Hydrate with a cooling moisturizing cream or gel to prevent the skin from drying out. Top up your moisturizer every few hours so your skin remains hydrated and comfortable.
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Do not use an oil product on your skin as this will form a seal and trap heat underneath, prolonging the sunburn.
· Top up your fluid intake to prevent dehydration. Your body will divert hydration from other organs to your skin to speed up healing. So help it out by drinking lots of water and other hydrating fluids like fresh coconut water.
· You can reduce inflammation by taking pain relief medicine. Ibroprofen does the job well here.
· Wear loose clothing to avoid further irritating the area.
· Stay out of the sun until your skin has fully healed.
If the blisters are very large and oozing fluid you should see a doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Your skin will eventually heal, but damage has been done. This is why practicing sun safety is best at all times.