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HEALING ARTS Treating Summer Sunburn By Li Hua, L. Ac. TCMD.

Sunburn is a very common skin problem during the sum- mer time. Especially, when students are out of school, families or friends would like to get together to enjoy sunshine on the beach, along the lake, in the swimming pool, or outdoors in general. It is easy, when having a good time to fail to notice the effects of too much sun.

Sun poisoning, or PMLE (Polymorphous light eruption) occurs in people who are susceptible and are exposed to intense sunlight that they are not used to.

Symptoms are a severe skin rash, usually appearing within 30 minutes to several hours of going out in the sun. The rash may be itchy and have these characteris- tics:

* Small bumps all over the body * Dense clumps of bumps * Hives, usually on the arms, lower legs, and chest

Usually people apply sunscreen to prevent the sunburn. but this will raise other health problems including vita- min D deficiency. Also some toxic ingredients can be found in some sunscreen that will cause other serious health problems.

The main symptoms of sunburn include suntan, redness, warm, tender to touch skin. In more serious cases the skin will peel off, often after extreme reddening, swell- ing, pain, and even blisters. Chills, fever, nausea, and even delirium may result with more extreme sunburns. A light sunburn will heal on its own. The more server sun- burn needs medical treatment to control infection and other possible side effects. The combination of western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine can help heal a sunburn faster. Acupuncture can release the burning pain effectively and also help prevent skin infections from the burn. Acupuncture can assist western medicine in calming the patients, healing the damaged skin, and giving relief from nausea and other side effects. Certain Chinese natural herbs may be added to help growing new skin tissue.

After getting a sunburn, it is better to eat high protein foods, fruits, and vegetables for tissue repair. Drink a lot of fluids. Get cool or cold compresses to reduce the pain. Apply watermelon, cucumber, or aloe to heal the sunburned skin. Avoid any further sun exposure until the burn is completely healed. Be sure to get plenty of rest.

Prevention of sunburn is the best plan. During the sum- mer, avoid spending long hours outdoors between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm when the temperature is high. Also wear sunglasses, a sun-hat, light protective clothing or use umbrella. If want to get a tan, cool the skin inside every 15 minutes. Drink plenty of fluids. Have bean soup, fruit soup, or vegetable soup more in the summer time to keep the body nutrition balanced.

Get acupuncture treatments before exposure to sunshine because acupuncture can improve the body’s immunity by increasing the Chi. It can also refresh the brain to help in making good decisions and remembering to protect the skin.

Some people do not get enough sunshine because of working indoors. These people are more prone to sun- burn on vacations or weekends at the beach or outdoors. It is best to expose yourself to sunshine regularly to strengthen the skin and at the same time avoid exposing yourself to the sun for long periods. Having acupuncture treatments may lower the risk of getting skin cancer. Too much sun may make skin dry and appear wrinkled so getting acupuncture will help skin age more gracefully.

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Contact Li Hua L.Ac. TCMD at Atlanta Acupuncture Center or 404-250-9903 or e-mail lihua@ or surf her web site at

Oracle 20/20 June 2012


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