One man not enjoying the current heatwave the UK is experiencing is gardener Greg Binnie. The 20-year-old spent seven hours on Saturday cutting grass outdoors in Dumfries, which has left him with second-degree burns.
“It’s torture,” he told Newsbeat. “It’s hard to describe the pain. It’s like there’s a crack in your skin and it’s pulsating as well. So there’s a constant reminder of the pain but you can’t itch or touch it.”
Greg, who’s from Edinburgh, says he didn’t notice the damage until his mum pointed out that his skin was blistering.
“The weather was forecast to be quite nice but nothing out of the ordinary. I did feel hot during the day but just assumed it was because of how much work I was doing. I could feel my skin was a bit tender but it wasn’t until my mum and dad did point out the red colour on my skin was a bit intense.”
Experts recommend applying sunscreen 30 minutes before you go out in the sun, and reapplying every two hours. Despite the red, sore feel of his skin Greg went back to work the next day, which was also a relatively hot day.
Greg says things took a turn for the worse on Sunday night after the second day of working outside. Greg says because of his fair skin he does tend to burn but this is the worst he’s ever experienced.
“Then the blisters popped up, I tried to put aloe vera on it but that’s quite tortuous. You have to apply stuff in a dabbing motion. I guess when you’re on holiday you use sunscreen but it’s not something you think about when you’re at home. Especially living in Scotland where you don’t get this weather often.”
Here are some tips from the British Skin Foundation for what to do if you’ve burnt yourself in the sun…
Painkillers can help relieve the pain and reduce inflammation caused by sunburn.
Cool the skin
Apply a cool compress to the skin e.g. a towel dampened with cool water for 15 minutes, or take a cool bath or shower. If blisters are starting to develop, then have a bath.
After a bath or shower, use an un-perfumed cream or lotion to soothe the skin. Aloe vera or soy containing gels or lotions can be beneficial in soothing the skin. Aloe vera not only has a cooling effect on the skin but also acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Sunburn can encourage fluid loss through the skin. Drinking plenty of water will prevent dehydration and help your body recover. Alcohol should ideally be avoided during this time as it will make dehydration worse.
Use of mild steroid cream
Using a weak steroid cream such as 0.5-1% hydrocortisone for 48 hours may decrease pain and swelling caused by sunburn and speed up the healing process.
Leave blisters alone
Try not to pop blisters as this can lead to infection and scarring. They will settle by themselves after a few days. In the meantime, treat the skin gently.