SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sunburn. A red patch of skin seen on the back and shoulders of a woman due to sunburn. Sunburn is caused by over-exposure to sunlight. The ultraviolet radiation in direct sunlight destroys cells in the outer layer of skin and damages tiny blood vessels beneath. Affected skin becomes inflamed and may blister in more severe cases, causing the skin to peel. Sunburn is most common in fair skinned people whose skin lacks the protective pigment melanin. Repeated exposure can age the skin prematurely and increases the risk of skin cancer. Calamine lotion and painkillers help to soothe sunburnt skin, severe cases may require medical attention and corticosteroid drugs.
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