Scientists have isolated the chemical process that causes that painful, itchy feeling after a bout of sunburn.
In a study published in August in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers said they had identified a molecule, TRPV4, which seems to be the root cause of sunburn-related pain.
In moderation, ultraviolet B (UVB) works to form Vitamin D, which has various health benefits like improved mood and stronger bones. However, UVB over-exposure activates TRPV4, which then sets in motion a chain reaction that causes an inflow of calcium ions and another molecule, endothelin, which is known to be responsible for the itching and pain of sunburn.
When researchers blocked TRPV4 with a topical solution, the itching vanished.
Although more research is needed to examine TRPV4’s side-effects, the scientists concluded that the process shows promise as a treatment for the itching associated with eczema and psoriasis.