Learn from the Burn

It’s summertime and the sun is shining; people are spending extra time outside. The lake, beach, poolside are all very tempting and perhaps you enjoy an outdoor sport or activity. Take caution.

“More than 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer were treated in over 3.3 million people in the U.S. in 2012, the most recent year new statistics were available”. https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts

If you have gotten a tan, your skin has been damaged by UV rays no matter how mild the tan may be. The younger you are when you get a sunburn or a tan, the more likely they will be to develop skin cancer.

Not all sunscreen options are safe or great. Sunscreens commonly include ingredients that act as “penetration enhancers” and help the product adhere to skin. As a result, many sunscreen chemicals are absorbed into the body and can be measured in blood, breast milk and urine samples.

Active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms, mineral and chemical filters. Each uses a different mechanism for protecting skin and maintaining stability in sunlight. The most common sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters. These products typically include a combination of two to six of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. A handful of products combine zinc oxide with chemical filters.

Laboratory studies indicate that some chemical UV filters may mimic hormones, and physicians report sunscreen-related skin allergies, which raises important questions about unintended human health consequences from frequent sunscreen application.


Sun Safety:

Limit your exposure to times that are before 12:00pm and after 2:00pm on the eastern coast, this is when the sun is most directly above you, and the rays are more intense.

Cover Up:

Limit your bathing suit only exposures to short bursts of time and preferably not mid day.

Use the Shade:

Whenever possible seek out shade every 20-30 minutes to help reduce the overall accumulation of sunshine you are exposed to.


It’s best to make your own. Commercially, store bought brands are often found to contain harsh ingredients. There are some great resources online for making your own products, or consult a holistic practitioner near you for more resources.

How to Treat a Burn:

Cool the skin as quickly as you notice it is pink/red unless it is severely blistered. If blistering occurs severely on adult or any blistering of a child seek medical attention immediately.

Keep the skin moist, using cool washcloths. Do not put ice or very cold water directly on a burn.

Aloe Vera may provide some soothing relief from a burn, be sure the skin is not broken/open before applying.

Stay covered up; do not increase the burn by continuing to have sun exposure. Take a few days indoors or wear long clothing to prevent any more damage to the skin.

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