Prickly heat is quite a common condition caused by hot, humid conditions. When you sweat more than you usually do, the sweat can become trapped under the skin, leading to blocked sweat glands and a tell-tale skin rash:
- A sea of bumps on the skin, in places such as the shoulders, arms, tights, back, and even face.
- Redness around these bumps.
- Slight swelling.
- Terrible itching.
While your doctor will likely recommend a Hydrocortisone cream when you're diagnosed with prickly heat, I've personally found that showering with lukewarm water and copious amounts of baking soda usually leads to rapid improvement. Try to wear natural fabrics such as cotton, and loose clothes.
Unlike prickly heat — an irritating but essentially harmless condition — sunburn blisters are extremely serious and should be treated as such. Anyone who has been sunburned so badly that they develop blisters, especially in combination with fever and chills, headaches, dizziness, and general malaise should seek medical attention.
- Make sure you drink plenty of fluids!
- Place yogurt and cucumber or honey on the skin.
- Cold compresses can also help.
- Keep your skin moisturized.
- Don't pop the blisters.
- Take fever-reducers if you have a fever.
Have you noticed darker, well-defined patches of skin that aren't raised after sun exposure? You may be dealing with solar lentigo, a perhaps scary-looking but benign skin condition. Only medical treatments like cryotherapy or laser treatment can get rid of these spots, but keeping them won't do you any physical harm. Just make sure to see a doctor to rule out skin cancer.
More Serious Skin Conditions As The Result Of Sun Exposure
Excessive sun exposure can additionally — as we all know — lead to various forms of skin cancer:
- Basal cell carcinoma grows in the deepest layer of the epidermis and looks like a strange, often slightly bloody, mole of various sizes.
- Squamous cell carcinoma has a similar appearance but proliferates across the layers of the epidermis.
- Malignant melanoma also looks like moles, and sometimes arises from moles.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are both unlikely to spread to other parts of the body, while melanoma can spread quite easily. In all cases, patients greatly benefit from timely diagnosis and treatment. Contrary to popular belief, even malignant melanoma is nearly always curable if it is detected and treated on time, though not seeking medical advice and/or not receiving treatment facilitates the spread of the cancer, which can be fatal.
The moral of the story? There are several, actually.
Your risk of skin cancer goes up the more time you spend in the sun unprotected, so be sun-safe:
- Always use sunscreen, though it can never completely protect you.
- Take note of the UV index reported by your local news.
- Stay inside during the hottest hours of the day when the UV index is high.
- Realize that staying in the shade isn't enough to protect you.
Then, whenever you notice skin changes you're even vaguely suspicious about or scared of, have a doctor check them out. Timely diagnosis and treatment could save your life!
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