Sunburns Are on the Rise

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100 million Americans can expect to experience the pain and discomfort of sunburn this year. And, surprisingly, there are many ways to be overexposed to the sun, regardless of the season.

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. In 2008, only 58 percent of adults said they usually practice at least one of the three sun-protective behaviors (using sunscreen, wearing sun-protective clothing, or seeking shade).

With this increased exposure to a more intense sun, companies are creating new and effective products that can provide relief of sunburn symptoms such as burning, peeling, and the general discomfort of overexposed skin.

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 United States.
  • Skiing and mountain climbing. People think that because it's cold, you can't get a sunburn, but the sun's rays are much stronger at higher elevations. While 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. These can greatly increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun. Use benzoyl peroxide gels and retinoids 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 than cloudless days for getting a sunburn. This is because the clouds magnify UV radiation.
  • Snow. It reflects 80 percent 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.

The solution, be sure to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or to cover up with proper clothing. If you are overexposed to the sun, use a product to relieve the pain and help heal damaged skin.

Avani V. Kanubaddi is president and CEO of Welmedix Consumer Healthcare, an over-the-counter health care company that offers SunBurnt®, which is formulated to provide cooling relief from the pain and discomfort of sunburns and to help skin recover from too much sun. Welmedix LLC is based in Princeton, N.J., and is a subsidiary of Akshay Wellness, Inc.

Posted by Avani V. Kanubaddi on Aug 12, 2013

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