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Sunburn results from over exposure of the skin to ultraviolet light. It is important that we do not underestimate the strength of the suns rays even on a dull day, as often the effects are not felt until later and the damage has already been done.

In this instance prevention is better than cure as repeated exposure to the sun or one episode of acute high exposure has been linked as a cause of malignant skin cancers, called malignant melanomas. The skin shows the same reaction to sunburn as any other type of burn. The sun burnt area becomes red, tender to touch and painful, it can blister and there can be swelling.

The fronts of the legs are particularly vulnerable and the ankles as there is not much underlying tissue to absorb the heat. In severe cases of sunburn a condition known as sunstroke can occur. In this instance there can be a fever, vomiting, weakness and shock, it can occasionally require hospitalization. A mild painkiller is useful to help you feel more comfortable.

Treat the area initially with cold or lukewarm water to reduce the heat retained in the tissues as this is the cause of some of the pain. Calamine lotion or one of the complementary remedies containing Aloe Vera can help to soothe the area.

Occasionally in severe cases it is necessary to use a steroid cream. NEVER expose the area to the sun again until it has time to completely heal. If you are tempted to top up your tan don't, you could suffer a lot more after a second exposure.

Children and people who are on medication which can make them photosensitive e.g. Amiodarone, should avoid sunbathing or wear a very high sun factor protection cream, and be prepared to reapply it more often than normal.

Additional Medical Conditions:

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