treating a sunburn

No matter how diligently patients apply sunscreen year-round, it seems inevitable that a handful suffer from sunburn. By the time sunburn is noticed, the damage has already been done and it is important to educate your patients on the various ingredients to look for when correcting the UV damage.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Low percentage (0.5%) hydrocortisone can help to relieve redness, inflammation, itching and irritation, allowing the skin to heal. This ingredient should only be used for seven days in a row because of its ability to thin the skin with persistent use.

Antioxidants are powerful in correcting UV-induced free radical damage. L-ascorbic acid, glutathione, ergothioneine and resveratrol are just a few of the potent antioxidants to add to your patients’ daily care regimens; each having their own role in healing damaged skin cells. For example, L-ascorbic acid is one of the most widely used antioxidants because of its myriad benefits, such as protecting against UV damage, reducing inflammation and providing melanogenesis inhibition. Glutathione is a strong antioxidant that is thought to play a key role in slowing the aging process because of its ability to strengthen and rebuild collagen bonds.

Using products that include stem cell growth factors can decrease the effects of damage after the skin has healed. These plant-derived stem cells have the ability to protect epidermal cells in human skin. Plant stem cell cultures provide antioxidant protection, while preventing inflammation and protecting human DNA by neutralizing free radicals. These amazing ingredients include grape fruit stem cell extract, lilac leaf stem cell extract and Swiss apple stem cell.

PCA SKIN formulates with  lilac leaf stem cell extract, (C-Quench® Antioxidant Serum and Intensive Clarity Treatment: 0.5% pure retinol night), as well as grape fruit stem cell extract (Rejuvenating Serum).

Hydration is also a key part in healing sunburn. A well-formulated moisturizer should contain both humectant and occlusive ingredients. Keeping the affected area hydrated with humectant ingredients, such as sodium hyaluronate, sodium PCA and glycerin, will help keep the skin from losing its natural moisture factor. Avena sativa (oat) kernel extract is high in essential fatty acids and helps to decrease inflammation while retaining vital moisture, providing antioxidant protection as well. Occlusive ingredients such as jojoba seed oil and hydrolyzed silk will help to lock the moisture in.

Most importantly, stay out of the sun! The worst thing for sunburn is more UV radiation, even if the skin is protected. The heat from the sun alone will cause more inflammation on the area, reactivating the burn. Try to stay indoors, but if going outside is a must, apply a broad spectrum sunscreen, keep the area covered with clothing and stay in the shade as much as possible.

For more information, call a member of the PCA SKIN Practice Development Group at 877.PCA.SKIN [722.7546] or visit


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