The Different Stage of Sunburn
07 Apr 2015
Sunburn can be very uncomfortable, and there are various stages of sunburn to be aware of, as the longer you’re in the sun, the worse it will get.
The first stage of sunburn is that the skin starts to look golden - this is how you get a tan. However, it is important to note that any sunburn damages skin and can increase a person's chances of developing skin cancer in the future.
In the second stage of sunburn, skin starts to go red and is more sensitive to the touch. This stage may not be immediately obvious to the sunburn sufferer and often occurs hours later.
The third stage of sunburn features the skin becoming a darker shade, perhaps a type of purplish red. This is when sunburn starts to become painful, with sufferers likely to see a sharp contrast in colour between areas of their body that are burned and those that are not. In the third stage of sunburn, the skin may also become slightly swollen and sore.
Finally, the fourth stage of sunburn involves red skin and blisters, as well as serious pain. Skin will start to peel and may hurt even when it is not being touched. In cases of severe sunburn, it may be necessary to visit a doctor or a pharmacist for treatment.
Why you should avoid sunburn
UV rays are damaging to the skin and can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer, which is one of the world's most common types of cancer. In the UK alone, there are over 100,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer each year. Wrinkling and premature ageing of the skin can also be caused by exposure to UV rays.
Sunscreen should always be used when outside in the sun for long periods, while people with freckles, red hair or lighter skin are most at risk of developing sunburn. Wearing sunglasses when outdoors in hot, sunny weather can also help people cut their risk of UV rays damaging their eyes.
It is worth remembering that signs of sunburn may sometimes be hidden under the surface of skin. Symptoms are not always evident even if UV rays have done damage to the skin.