Still Getting Burned By the Sun

Everyone knows the risks of too much sun exposure, the most obvious being sunburn. Despite this fact, sunburn remains a very common occurrence.

Burn Out

Such was the conclusion of a recent study, published in the journal JAMA Dermatology. The authors of this report cast a wide net for this research, surveying over 31,000 adults of various demographic backgrounds.

So who exactly was at most risk from the sun’s ultraviolet rays? The answer might partially surprise you; it turns out that young adults were more likely to get sunburned than their older counterparts. Sunburns also disproportionately affected subjects who used sunless tanner, had sensitive skin or preferred to exercise outdoors. Obesity was also correlated with an elevated sunburn risk.

Even subjects outside of these groups weren’t totally free from the sun’s long reach; participants with relatively dark skin were still found to have a 13 to 30 percent chance of sunburn.

Safeguarding Your Skin

In response to the study, the Cleveland Clinic’s Melissa Piliang, M.D., stated that sunburns are still far too common among the general population. “Sunburn was very common,” said Piliang. “More than a third of people in the study experienced sunburn during the year. For young people in their twenties, about 50 percent of them experienced a sunburn.”

To reduce sunburn risk, Piliang stated that those spending time outdoors should take proper precautions, including the use of sunscreen. “Wear sunscreen and really follow the directions on the package very carefully. You want to apply it before you go outside; put on an ounce of sunscreen- that’s the amount in a shot glass – to cover your whole body; and reapply every few hours, especially after swimming or sweating.”

Another good piece of advice is to avoid the sun as during the hours 10 a.m to 4 p.m.; if you find yourself outdoors during this time frame, try to find some shade.

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