Unexpected Things That Are Making Your Sunburn Even Worse

When someone gets a sunburn, they always run straight for the aloe. Although they should have started with sunblock to prevent the sunburn in the first place, sometimes you don't keep track of how much time you're outside or just how hot the sun really is, and before you know it, you resemble a cooked lobster — but minus the claws, the wonky tail, and all those legs. Either way, the damage is done, and now it's time to move forward by healing your skin with water and proper moisturizers (via The Telegraph).

But, interestingly enough, there are some things that can make your sunburn even worse, things that are so unexpected that they probably have never crossed your mind. Sure, most people know that products that contain retinol and glycolic acid (used to chemically exfoliate skin) can be real doozies when they're combined with sun exposure, but they're not the only things out there that can have such a vicious effect when it comes to sunburns (via the Skin Care Foundation).

From what you consume to the medication you take to an accidental spritz of citrus on your skin, here are some unexpected things that are making your sunburn worse.

What you eat and drink can affect your sunburn

If you're a beer lover, then you already know that there's nothing quite like a day at the beach having a few cold ones with your buddies. But, and you probably want to sit down for this, drinking alcohol can make your sunburn worse. It's not just because you get tipsy and forget what time it is or shrug off the sunblock but because of its effect on the body. Research has found that after drinking, the amount of UV light it takes to cause a sunburn is lower than if someone wasn't drinking in the sun.

"The research suggests that alcohol reduces the amount of time you can spend in the sun before you get a burn," Aaron White, a senior scientific adviser with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism tells NPR. So, maybe save the beer for later that night after the sun goes down.

As for what you eat, if you're a fiend for celery, it's a good idea to hold off on eating it if you're planning a trip to a vacation hot spot with lots of sun. Although celery and citrus have been found to make sunburns worse when they're on the skin (like if you're eating an orange and it's dripping all over you), consuming a lot of celery can also cause sunburns to take on lives of their own (via Today).

Technology and medication can affect your sunburn, too

While medication may not come as any major surprise, if you gasped when you saw technology, then you probably weren't alone. Although swiping on Tinder or scrolling through Instagram while you're at the beach may seem harmless, the reality is that iPads, phones, and similar electronic devices reflect UV rays back onto our faces (via the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology). Not only do these things reflect the sun but they also do so at an increased rate making them a bad news bear situation when it comes to looking at your phone at the beach.

When it comes to medication, you may think the ibuprofen you're popping on the reg for your aches and pains is harmless, but if you're going out into the sun, that's definitely not the case (via Men's Health). Medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and other anti-inflammatory meds contain photosensitizing agents that make the absorption of the sun's UV rays easier for the body, leading to cell damage and some pretty awful sunburns (via Skin Care Foundation). Definitely be wary of what you have in your system before heading to the beach because SPF may not be enough; you may need a hat and coverup, too.

As climate change continues, the sun and its effect on everything are only going to get worse. Knowing now how to protect yourself from UV rays and what to stay away from is going to be your best defense against not just sunburns, but chances of skin cancer in the future. It might actually be time to invest in an umbrella.

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