National surveys supported by the CDC indicate that with a depleted ozone layer, Americans are suffering increased ultraviolet radiation exposure leading to more intense sunburns. More than one-third of the U.S. population reported experiencing a sunburn in the previous year. While the prevalence of overexposure to the sun is on the rise, Americans also need to be aware of other ways they can get burned. In fact, serious skin burns can be the result of many varied factors, including the following:
- Windburn – In cold high winds of 60+ mph one can get windburn, which is very similar to a sunburn and requires the same type of treatment
- Ozone Depletion –The earth’s atmosphere has been steadily losing ozone, which serves as a protective barrier to the sun’s harmful rays. Even on cloudy days, without proper protection from sunscreen or clothing, sunburns can happen. Places of high risk right now are Australia and Antarctica, but in the future expect higher UV exposure in the US.
- Skiing and mountain climbing – People think that just because it’s cold you can’t get a sunburn, but the sun’s rays are much stronger at higher elevations. When skiing or mountain climbing, you’re very likely to get a sunburn if you don’t take proper precautions.
- Small airplanes – If you’re in small aircraft you’re at risk for sunburn. Small planes have acrylic windshields and windows that don’t block out damaging UV rays
- Antibiotics- Many prescription antibiotics greatly increase the risk of sunburns due to increased sensitivity of the skin. Check with your doctor.
- Acne Medicines- Can greatly increase the skin’s sensitivity to the Sun. Benzoyl Peroxide Gels and Retinoids are to be used with care if you are planning to be exposed to the sun.
- Long distance auto travel– While windows do block out some of the sun’s rays, they don’t completely filter them out, so if you’re driving for hours during the day it’s best to use sunscreen
- Partly cloudy days – Partly cloudy days where the sun is only partially shining can be a higher risk for getting a sunburned than cloudless days. This is because the clouds magnify UV radiation
- Snow – Snow reflects 80% of available sunlight, so if it’s a sunny day after a snowstorm and you want to go outside and play in the snow, you’re at a high risk of a sunburn
Author: Avani Kanubaddi is President and CEO of Welmedix (www.welmedixcorp.com), a leading over-the-counter healthcare company recently introduced (www.sunburnt.com), which is formulated to provide cooling relief from the pain and discomfort of sunburns and helps skin recover from too much sun.