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Sunday, 29 May 2011

It's Mediterranean sunburn time

It's fast approaching the time of year when the sun's rays are becoming much stronger across the Mediterranean and when we see unsuspecting tourists walking around with the evidence of too much exposure. In June. in Cyprus, temperatures continue to rise but do not reach their highest until July and August. In June, by the afternoon temperatures average around 28-31 centigrade and inland up to 34. 

Regardless of your skin type, you should avoid long periods in the sun, as the risk of getting skin cancer increases depending on your level of exposure. 

When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces a pigment called melanin to help protect itself against ultraviolet light (UV). This is what makes your skin go darker or what is called a suntan. 

A sunburn is a burn to your skin tissue from overexposure to UV radiation from the sun’s rays. With too much exposure to UV light, your skin overheats and becomes red and painful and may later peel or blister. Redness is classed as first degree burn. Redness and blistering are evidence of a second degree burn. And in some severe cases of sunburn the sun’s radiation can cause third degree burns, which can cause long term skin damage and scarring.

We lived in Australia for a period and "Slip, Slop, Slap" was a popular advertising campaign which aimed to educate the public about skin cancer and prevention, slip on a shirt; put on sun cream and slap on a hat. It educated us as it always serves as a convenient reminder before we go outside.

If you do get a sunburn, you can turn to several simple home remedies to help in soothing the discomfort and help your skin heal faster. Firstly, keep your body well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and iced herbal teas. Also remember that overexposure to the sun will dry out your skin, so after treating your burn with the recipes below, re-hydrate your skin with a generous application of rich cream or natural oil such as sunflower or almond oil.

The following are home made sunburn soothers which you might want to try.  Plain yoghurt, tomato juice, aloe vera gel, chamomile tea or vinegar (half a tablespoon of vinegar diluted in half a cup of water).

Use a clean cotton cloth to apply any one of the above ingredients directly to your skin; or add one of these soothers to a tepid bath.

If you yoghurt rinse your skin after 20-25 minutes, as the yoghurt will turn sour.

                                   Enjoy the sun but remember - slip, slop, slap.

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