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What is the redness on this man's leg?

A man's leg turns red after watching an outdoor baseball game.


What is your diagnosis?


Sunburn on legs








A man's leg turns red after watching an outdoor baseball game.

Diagnosis:

Sunburn

Sunburn is a phototoxic reaction as a result from overexposure to ultraviolet radiation. Chronic exposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Having multiple sunburns is a risk factor in melanoma. The most important thing in sunburn to prevent it is sun protection. I recommend sun-protective clothing as the first line of defense against the sun because once you put it on, it always works for you and you don't have to worry about reapplying it. Also, the clothing they make now including a company called 'Coolibar' located in Golden Valley, Minnesota (makes tremendous protective wear that have a specially designed tight weave to block the sun but is well vented so they are very lightweight and are very comfortable. There are other sun protective clothing manufacturers as well. Also, on the protection side, is to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30; SPF measure the ability to block UVB, the wavelength most associated with sunburns. Most important is to make sure the sunscreen ALSO has protection against UVA, which produces wrinkles and skin cancer. Fortunately, most sunscreens have both, but not all do, so best to check. Also put the sunscreen on 30 minutes before sun exposure; it take s 20 minutes or so to set up and then reapply every 60 minutes (even more often if swimming or perspiring) to maintain protection.

SUNBURN TREATMENT

Pearls:

To treat sunburn, I use two things, a class 1 steroid gel kept in the refrigerator to be applied three times daily for three to five days. In between applications, I recommend an aloe gel, also kept in the refrigerator. This is nice and cool. I like oral plain aspirin appropriate for age and weight. Generally speaking, in adults two aspirin every 6 to 8 hours for three to five days. Indomethacin has also been used, but in my experience aspirin has worked just fine. If there is an extensive disruption of the epidermis, also monitor for infection.

 

Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD
Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor of Dermatology
At the
University of Minnesota Medical School
Medical Director, Crutchfield Dermatology
www.CrutchfieldDermatology.com



 


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