Monday, June 29, 2009

Moderate Sunburn

I spent the majority of the day splitting wood on Saturday, so far I've chopped about 190 cubic feet, which is about a cord and a quarter. Only two more cords to go before I'm done for the year. Last year I didn't finish splitting all of my wood in time, so I stacked the rounds on pallets and split them as needed throughout the winter.

Although sunburns are practically impossible to get in the winter, the downside to winter chopping is that you need to wear a sweater and the moisture in the air usually makes the wood a little harder to split.

For those reasons, I hope to have it all split before the end of July this year. Then I can spend my time enjoying fires rather than cutting wood for them. Splitting it sooner will also give the split chunks of wood more time to dry out in the summer sun, which means they'll burn hotter and more efficiently.

Saturday, being the first long day of sun exposure I've had, I managed to earn a sunburn on my upper and lower back. Since my arms and shoulders got plenty of exposure on Memorial Day at Brandon's trailer in the desert, they didn't burn at all, just became much more tan. The thing about me and my skin is that I rarely burn seriously, no matter what I do, and after my first burn of the year, I am tan enough to not burn on the same spot again.

What usually happens, and what seems to be happening this time as well, is that the burn is red for the first day, but by the end of the second day it's mostly tan with a hint of rouge. After four days, I usually have a nice, dark tan. It rarely becomes second degree and starts to peel.

The last time that I burned myself badly enough to cause peeling was several years ago at Lake Ozette. Mac, Brandy and I borrowed Ron's boat and spent the whole day on the lake fishing at the beginning of a very hot August. We literally went out at about sun up and came in at dusk, Mac and I were shirtless for the majority of the day without any form of sunblock. I knew that night that a bad burn was coming since my skin was very warm, as it usually gets the night you burn. Interestingly enough I only burned my back and shoulders that day.

We stopped at a Swain's department store on the way home the next day and bought some Solarcaine burn relief and helped each other apply it liberally before hopping in the car. We didn't get out of the parking lot before the "instant cooling" agent actually intensified the burning sensation to an extreme degree. When we got home, we all took a cold shower right away.

At another point in my life, I thought that perhaps it was just a fluke that we ended up having such a terrible experience with something that advertises relief, but when I've tested it on burns of varying levels of intensity, there is still a resulting burn intensification. I don't doubt that the gel is good for your burned skin, but I feel like they should probably say something like "Agitates and intensifies" rather than "Cools and Soothes" on their bottle.

I've found that a heavy moisturizing lotion works the best for soothing and healing, and drinking plenty of water. Although it's expensive, I usually use Cetaphil, which my doctor initially prescribed for the excema I occasionally get on my fingers.

In any case, my burn is turning into a nice tan, and with the melanin factory running, I hope that I can avoid any burns on my upcoming trip to South Dakota.

On that topic, I've ordered my tires and I'm taking the motorcycle in to have them installed on Friday the 3rd.

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