You read the directions and applied the recommended amount of sunscreen to your skin. You use the appropriate SPF and even remembered to put it on 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. So why on earth did you end up with sunburn anyway?
The answers may surprise you:
1. You use retinoids or products with glycolic acid.
Sloughing off the top layer of cells with these harsh items can leave your skin more vulnerable to sunburn. If you are using these forms of chemical exfoliation, be extra vigilant about sunscreen, protective coverings and of course, sunscreen. Try using Nupeel Natural Enzyme Peel instead if you will be spending a lot of time poolside.
2. You used sunscreen you found packed away in the pool bag from last year.
Even if it hasn’t expired, sunscreens are designed to maintain their original SPF if kept in “a normal and ambient environment,” according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. If they’ve been exposed to extreme temperatures, high or low, it’s best to toss it.
3. You’re taking an antibiotic.
Some drugs, even over-the-counter drugs, can increase sun sensitivity. This allows the skin to burn in less time and with a lower level of UV exposure than normal. While there are many medications, including OTC pain relievers (such as ibuprofen and naproxen), oral contraceptives, and antidepressants—that may cause some type of reaction, the most common ones include antibiotics, diuretics, and oral and topical retinoids. The sensitivity should cease once the medication is eliminated from your body, but that can take a while. For instance, the vitamin-A derivative Accutane can persist in your system for a month after you’ve taken your last pill. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if your meds put you at increased risk of sunburn.
4. You have an autoimmune disease.
Did you know that lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and even Crohn’s can leave your skin more sensitive to the sun? In fact, a sunburn can sometimes even help in the diagnosis of these conditions. A “pattern” sunburn can tip off the doctor that this is not a typical sunburn, but rather something more serious. Skin cancer is more prevalent in people with autoimmune disease, so it is necessary to take further sun-exposure precautions.
5. You read on your iPad.
No, seriously. A recent study by the University of New Mexico shows that the glare reflected by the surface of an iPad could increase UV exposure by 85 percent while the surface of an iPhone increased it 36 percent. This means the safest way to use these devices is slathered with sunscreen with a hat and sunglasses or while under an umbrella!
6. You consumed alcohol.
Now this is interesting. Harvard Medical School analyzed data from 300,000 people in 2006 and found two things: Sunburn is common. At least 34 percent of respondents said they had been burned by the sun within the past year. Sunburn is more likely in those who consume alcohol. In fact, heavy drinkers, those who had more than 5 beverages on one occasion, had a 22 percent greater risk than those who didn’t drink alcohol at all. They can’t be sure if it is the actual alcohol causing the burns or if a lowered sense of nerve sensory is the cause. (Probably the latter - if we have to be honest!)