The Analyst™

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Healthy

  Tendency to Sunburn Easily  
 
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Conditions that suggest it | Recommendations

 

Sunburns hurt, and the damage they inflict on your skin is long lasting and dangerous. The redness of a sunburn is caused by clogged and swollen capillaries that supply blood to the skin. Severe burns, caused by the ultraviolet rays in sunlight, damage blood vessels and destroy elastic fibers in the skin, causing it to sag and wrinkle. Excessive sun exposure can also lead to skin cancer, the most common of all cancers. Prevention is best. Perform outdoor activities before 10:00 A.M. or after 2:00 P.M., when the ultraviolet rays are less intense. Remember to wear a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or higher.

"The sun is bad for your skin" - or is it? With all the warnings we're given about sun exposure, skin cancer, and aging, you'd think that God was playing a cruel trick on us by placing that large, warm, inviting ball in the sky. Actually, sunlight - in moderate, regular doses - is good and even mandatory for good health and healthy skin.

We need sunlight for several reasons. Sun helps the skin produce vitamin D and heightens its absorption. For these reasons, the bones benefit. In Ayurvedic medicine, the healing tradition from India, the sun's warm rays are a source of higher consciousness. A 15 to 20-minute daily walk outside (avoid the most intense times from noon to 3 p.m.) is actually a recommended treatment for some skin conditions like acne and psoriasis.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, which triggers the formation of cell-damaging free radicals, is a primary culprit in premature aging of your skin. Its accomplices are loss of moisture and essential fatty acids, and the body's nutritional status - especially low antioxidant levels.

For added protection under the sun, take advantage of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, like carotenoids and flavonoids, and high in potassium. Be sure to take vitamins E and C, and if you happen to burn, apply vitamin E oil directly to your skin. It's been shown to reduce the redness and inflammation caused by the sun. Other natural ways to cool burning skin include applying aloe vera juice, zinc oxide, and vitamin A oil.

If you've been inside all winter (ensure adequate vitamin D by supplementation), begin exposure gradually with half an hour per day for a week and work up slowly. Remember, sunburn is your body's warning that you've had too much. Guard young children with both limited exposure and by placing a hat on both them and you. Be wary if near water, snow, or metal, as these reflect rays that cause a burn more quickly. You can burn just as easily under clouds on a gloomy day as on a sunny one. Take extra care if you have moles or a history of skin cancer, or are taking medication that increases sensitivity to the sun.
 

 
 

Conditions that suggest Tendency to Sunburn Easily:
 
 
Environment / Toxicity  Sun Damage/Overexposure
 
 

Recommendations for Tendency to Sunburn Easily:
 
 
Botanical  Aloe Vera
 Aloe vera is a natural way to cool burning skin. Keep an aloe vera plant in your house, and when you have a sunburn, break open a leaf and apply the clear gel inside directly to your tender skin. Apply as often as needed for relief. For convenience, use the aloe vera sunburn products available in most drugstores and health food stores. Just be sure that the product you're buying contains more aloe vera gel than water.

Nutrient

  Essential Fatty Acids

Vitamins

  Vitamin E
 Vitamins C and E, anti-oxidants, help reduce the damage due to free radicals produced through exposure to UV light. If you happen to burn, apply vitamin E oil directly to your skin. It's been shown to reduce the redness and inflammation caused by the sun.

  Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
 Vitamins C and E, both anti-oxidants, help reduce the damage due to free radicals produced through exposure to UV light. Taking a combination of vitamins C and E has been shown to reduce the sunburn reaction, which might in turn indicate a reduced risk for later consequences of UV-induced skin damage. [J Am Acad Dermatol, 38(1): pp.45-8 1998 January]
 
 


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GLOSSARY

Acne:  A chronic skin disorder due to inflammation of hair follicles and sebaceous glands (secretion glands in the skin).

Antioxidant:  A chemical compound that slows or prevents oxygen from reacting with other compounds. Some antioxidants have been shown to have cancer-protecting potential because they neutralize free radicals. Examples include vitamins C and E, alpha lipoic acid, beta carotene, the minerals selenium, zinc, and germanium, superoxide dismutase (SOD), coenzyme Q10, catalase, and some amino acids, like cystiene. Other nutrient sources include grape seed extract, curcumin, gingko, green tea, olive leaf, policosanol and pycnogenol.

Ayurvedic:  Type of alternative medicine in which diet and therapies, such as herbal inhalation and massage, are dictated by individual's body type; 4,000 year-old traditional Indian system believed to be helpful to those suffering insomnia, hypertension and digestive problems.

Cancer:  Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.

Essential Fatty Acid:  (EFA): A substance that the human body cannot manufacture and therefore must be supplied in the diet.

Free Radical:  A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron. Because another element can easily pick up this free electron and cause a chemical reaction, these free radicals can effect dramatic and destructive changes in the body. Free radicals are activated in heated and rancid oils and by radiation in the atmosphere, among other things.

Potassium:  A mineral that serves as an electrolyte and is involved in the balance of fluid within the body. Our bodies contain more than twice as much potassium as sodium (typically 9oz versus 4oz). About 98% of total body potassium is inside our cells. Potassium is the principal cation (positive ion) of the fluid within cells and is important in controlling the activity of the heart, muscles, nervous system and just about every cell in the body. Potassium regulates the water balance and acid-base balance in the blood and tissues. Evidence is showing that potassium is also involved in bone calcification. Potassium is a cofactor in many reactions, especially those involving energy production and muscle building.

Psoriasis:  An inherited skin disorder in which there are red patches with thick, dry silvery scales. It is caused by the body making too-many skin cells. Sores may be anywhere on the body but are more common on the arms, scalp, ears, and the pubic area. A swelling of small joints may go along with the skin disease.

Vitamin A:  A fat-soluble vitamin essential to one's health. Plays an important part in the growth and repair of body tissue, protects epithelial tissue, helps maintain the skin and is necessary for night vision. It is also necessary for normal growth and formation of bones and teeth. For Vitamin A only, 1mg translates to 833 IU.

Vitamin D:  A fat-soluble vitamin essential to one's health. Regulates the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the blood by improving their absorption and utilization. Necessary for normal growth and formation of bones and teeth. For Vitamin D only, 1mcg translates to 40 IU.

Vitamin E:  An essential fat-soluble vitamin. As an antioxidant, helps protect cell membranes, lipoproteins, fats and vitamin A from destructive oxidation. It helps protect red blood cells and is important for the proper function of nerves and muscles. For Vitamin E only, 1mg translates to 1 IU.

Zinc:  An essential trace mineral. The functions of zinc are enzymatic. There are over 70 metalloenzymes known to require zinc for their functions. The main biochemicals in which zinc has been found to be necessary include: enzymes and enzymatic function, protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism. Zinc is a constituent of insulin and male reproductive fluid. Zinc is necessary for the proper metabolism of alcohol, to get rid of the lactic acid that builds up in working muscles and to transfer it to the lungs. Zinc is involved in the health of the immune system, assists vitamin A utilization and is involved in the formation of bone and teeth.