General chatter - Sunburn causing water retention, who knew?




kaplods
06-14-2011, 03:53 PM
On Sunday, Hubby and I went to a friend's cookout and I was very careful with my food. One plate - low-carb, on plan, and food not crowding the plate. So I was very surprised to see a sudden 5 lb gain on the scale the next morning.

The meat marinade had been a little salty, but not enough to account for 5 lbs, especially as I had been drinking a lot of zero calorie fluids (water and flavored vitamin water which did contain stevia and xylitol) which usually flushes extra water out.

I also got a fairly severe sunburn, mostly to my face and arms. I would never have connected the sunburn to the water retention, except that my face (the worst burnt) was very obviously swollen - so puffy that the pores looked like deep craters and my nose and cheeks were really enlarged. My face looked like a bright red, lumpy orange. It was bad enough that I probably would have gone to prompt care clinic (for situations that are less-than-emergencies, but too urgent to wait for a doctor's appointment) had been open.


I noticed that my wrists and ankles were also puffy (even though I didn't get any sunburn to my legs).

Out of curiosity, I googled to see if sunburn could case water retention, and sure enough, it's actually fairly common.

Also the sun burn or the sweating clogged my pores, and caused half a dozen huge pimples.
Another good reason to be careful in the sun.

It ticks me off though, because not only do I look terrible, and my face and arms hurt, but the weight isn't going to come off before my TOPS weigh-in tonight, and I was really looking forward to a significant loss this week.


mhill0823
06-14-2011, 04:14 PM
This breaks my heart but eases my mind all at the same time!
I had a really severe sunburn this past weekend and on Monday I was excited about weigh in but was saddened to see that I hadn't lost any weight(I was expecting a few pounds)
So now I understand why!!!!
How long does it usually take to come off?

Lovely
06-14-2011, 05:11 PM
Ack! So sorry you got sunburned and scaleburned at the same time. I never would've guessed! :hug:


Esofia
06-14-2011, 05:17 PM
Ouch. Aloe vera?

I discovered the fun way this week that spending half of Sunday night in agonising stomach pain, with chills and generally feeling horrendously ill (had the doctor out at 3 am), causes a nice little rise in the scale on Tuesday morning.

kaplods
06-14-2011, 08:44 PM
This breaks my heart but eases my mind all at the same time!
I had a really severe sunburn this past weekend and on Monday I was excited about weigh in but was saddened to see that I hadn't lost any weight(I was expecting a few pounds)
So now I understand why!!!!
How long does it usually take to come off?


I couldn't find any specific information, but from what I've read, it depends on how bad the burn is and how slowly you tend to heal.

Any and all injuries cause swelling and water rentention, because they're both part of the healing process. I actually knew that already, I just (duh) didn't really think of sunburn as an injury, when it's actually a fairly significant one (I knew that too, but I didn't put the two and two together).

So whether you break your leg or get a sunburn, water retention can result.

I went to my weigh-in and I'm still up 4 lbs. So, I dropped a pound so far, and it's been 48 hours. I'm pushing the fluids and using Solarcaine Burn Relief Spray (with aloe and lidocaine).



My face is still swollen and broken out, but at least it's looking better, until it starts to peel. I'm not looking forward to that, especially since I'm not one of those people who tan after a burn. When I burn, first I burn, then I peel and the new skin under the peeling is even whiter and more sensitive to burning.

What's ironic, is that I realized I had forgotten my sunscreen, but I wasn't worried about my face, because the mineral makeup I was wearing had an spf rating of 15 (thank God for it, or I bet I would have blistered). I was wearing capris and a tunic with 3/4 length sleeves, so I thought I was fairly well protected.

dogdaysofdiets
06-14-2011, 08:59 PM
Sorry to hear about your sunburn. I'm very fair skinned and know all to well how painful it can be. I hope it heals quickly for you!

mhill0823
06-14-2011, 11:25 PM
Yeah I'm the same way... after a few burns every summer I do start to tan but it takes a lot.. surprisingly over the years I've learned how to not peel as bad... I buy Banana Boat after sun aloe vera lotion... and i literally put it on 3 times a day for 8 days after the burn... I burned on Saturday and so far my chin and nose have peeled, that is all!
I'm the sunburn queen, I know all the silly remedies!
and Solarcain for sunburn, i have about 3 cans on backup!
lol

indiblue
06-14-2011, 11:38 PM
So sorry to hear about the burn, but thanks for sharing the information. Ibuprofen is my go-to for sunburns- reduces the inflammation and, of course, acts a painkiller. Good luck!

kaplods
06-15-2011, 02:24 AM
So sorry to hear about the burn, but thanks for sharing the information. Ibuprofen is my go-to for sunburns- reduces the inflammation and, of course, acts a painkiller. Good luck!


LOL! That used to be mine too, but I'm allergic to NSAIDS, and it only took me and my doctors 20 years to figure that out. Turns out they were causing asthma symptoms. I went from three types of daily asthma meds, two types of prescription allergy meds and a rescue inhaler to just a rescue inhaler and as-needed otc allergy meds).

I am taking fish oil though for inflammation, and I have my pain meds for my fibro, so I'm fairly comfortable (and I'm down another half pound).

Esofia
06-15-2011, 06:44 AM
Hi Kaplods, how's the sunburn today?

I can't tolerate NSAIDs either, although we figured this out fairly fast. Give me one ibuprofen, taken on a full stomach with ranitidine, and I promptly develop two weeks of stomach pain. Actually, I'm crap with painkillers in general, it's an absolute nuisance. I do take echium oil (best veggie alternative to fish oil), not that I can really afford it right now, and I've been on ginger since I started dieting as I was getting chilly. No idea how much either are helping with inflammation.

Could you tell me more about how any injury will cause water retention? I am currently feeling rather miffed about what's just happened with me. The story goes as follows:

8/6/11 - 132.2
9/6/11 - 131.8
10/6/11 - 131.8
11/6/11 - 130.8
12/6/11 - 131.2
13/6/11 - no weigh in due to being up most of the night before with horrendous abdominal pain, nausea and chills (doctor was called in, said vaguely that it might be a virus)
14/6/11 - 132.4
15/6/11 - 132.0

Riddy
06-15-2011, 01:11 PM
I learned this the hard way, too. I burnt my thighs pretty bad once, and noticed the next day that they were FIRM! Not quite the way I wanted it to happen. :o

Hope your burn feels better soon!

kaplods
06-15-2011, 04:25 PM
Hi Kaplods, how's the sunburn today?

I can't tolerate NSAIDs either, although we figured this out fairly fast. Give me one ibuprofen, taken on a full stomach with ranitidine, and I promptly develop two weeks of stomach pain. Actually, I'm crap with painkillers in general, it's an absolute nuisance. I do take echium oil (best veggie alternative to fish oil), not that I can really afford it right now, and I've been on ginger since I started dieting as I was getting chilly. No idea how much either are helping with inflammation.

Could you tell me more about how any injury will cause water retention?


I don't really know much about the precise how (at least not anymore). It was something I first learned in college in a two semester human biology course. You'll also see it referred to (but not necessarily explained) if you google "water retention inuries" or "water retention burns" (I didn't use quotes on google, these were just the words I typed into the google search box).

The "swelling" of an injury, for example is water (well actually body fluids) being diverted to the area. These fluids and the healing cells they carry are needed to repair the injury and fight infection, so the fluids that would normally be peed out, are instead diverted to the site of the injury.

Steroids for example cause water retention, because your body needs water in your body fluids to make the steroids and for other healing processes as well. Just as a course of prednisone will cause water retention, so will your your body's own steroids.


My knowledge is really fuzzy here, because it's based on two classes I took more than 25 years ago as an undergraduate psychology student, and information threaded throughout other classes in college and graduate school. And to be honest, I didn't plan on entering the clinical field so I wasn't exactly focused on learning the material "forever." So if you're interested in the specific healing processes and how the body uses the fluids and how it diverts the water in foods and liquids to the healing process, I can't help you there.

Esofia
06-15-2011, 04:45 PM
Erm, I think your (very interesting) post accidentally got cut off there!

I suppose all I really need to know is that it happens. Any idea how long it usually happens for?

fatferretfanatic
06-15-2011, 05:19 PM
I am also a very fair skinned lady, and I experienced an incident in which I do think is very similar. The day before yesterday, I ran/walked 8 miles. Huge accomplishment, right? It was amazing! BUT, I was sunburned so badly that I had to sleep with my shirt off covered in aloe and vitamin e ointment. The sunburn has calmed down quite a bit, but I am still in pretty severe pain from it. Not only were my legs jelly, but my upper body, face and eyelids (??!!) were so sunburned and swollen that I've got horrible acne going on and I am up a few pounds. Now, I know it'll come off, but it's still frustrating. However, if that's what my body needs to heal, that's fine. I hope your sunburn feels better! I am the same way-I don't really get darker, I just peel and start from square one.

kaplods
06-15-2011, 10:27 PM
Erm, I think your (very interesting) post accidentally got cut off there!

I suppose all I really need to know is that it happens. Any idea how long it usually happens for?


LOL - yes hubby interrupted me mid-sentence and I thought I'd completed my thought so I submitted it without checking.

As I mentioned, none of the sources I read gave any indication of specific time frames. In fact they seemed to go out of their way to avoid it, saying it depends on how severe the burn/injury, how much area it covers, how well you heal, and what you're doing to help or hinder healing (are you drinking extra fluids, using sunscreen, resting and staying out of the sun or are you right back out there in the sun, getting more burn).

I'm not expecting a long-lasting problem, I donot think the water rentention will outlast the sunburn itself, so by the time my skin is back to normal, I expect the scale to be, as well. I'm guessing no more than a week.

Now if you get a super, nasty blistering sunburn, I'm sure it would take a lot longer.

Esofia
06-16-2011, 06:04 AM
Actually, I was thinking about water retention due to injury in general, but I suppose the same applies there. My weight went up by 1.2lb the day after the incident (not sure if it counts as an injury; not sure what it counts as, really), then down 0.4 from that the next day, and now it's down another 0.8 this morning. So while I'm still not back to where I was before it happened, it looks like I will be in a day or so.

ME/CFIDS being the fun and funky condition that it is, I'll be curious to see whether anything else sets off this reaction. So far the only other noticeable thing I've had was a 2.1lb drop the day after a nasty shock, during which I didn't eat as much, and over a week of intense stress. My weight bounced back up after that, though, and then plateaued (plateau'd?) for a week over my period, and then went back to falling. With all of that happening, my weight is now where it was on the day of that big drop 17 days ago, though if you discount that one-off day I'm still showing a pattern of loss overall.

How are your burns healing up?

kaplods
06-16-2011, 03:59 PM
Yeah, it would apply even more to other injuries, because there's less difference between a mild sunburn and a super bad one than there is in the wide scope of all other injuries. I mean, sure there's a HUGE difference between a little pinkness on the face and a full body, second degree sunburn with large blisters over 70% of your body along with dehydration (a sunburn that bad can be fatal), but when you look at other injuries the difference is even greater - from papercut to third degree burns over 90% of the body to an industrial or severe automobile accidnet.

I would doubt very much that you'd get any measurable water retention from a papercut, but beyond that "how much" and "how long" I would think are pretty hard to estimate.

I'm sure it also varies tremendously from individual to individual, and even for a particular individual (if you sprain your ankle ten times in your life, how much and how long you retain water could be different each time).

Stress itself is an "injury" in that it causes the body to produce stress-hormones/steroids such as cortisol.

I have FMS and possibly CFIDS (I was diagnosed with the fibro first, even though extreme fatigue and cognitive impairment were my most life-altering symptoms. When I was diagnosed, it wasn't unusual for me to sleep 20 of 24 hours. Before I had to quit working, my husband would have to drive me to work because I couldn't make the five minute drive without falling asleep. It would take me three hours to read emails that in the past I would do in 15 minutes). If I hadn't had a job that was largely unsupervised, I would have been fired at least a year before I quit.

Although I have my symptoms under much better control, I still have very random symptoms, including water retention. Whether it's the fibro/cfids or the autoimmune disease (I have an as-yet undiagnosed autoimmune disease attacking my cartilage and respiratory system. I have scarring on my lungs and it "ate" a hole in my septum (I could wear a nosering 3/4 inch in diameter if I were so inclined). I also have a very weird skin issue that is triggered by wheat, but other things as well (even when 100% wheat-free, I will get bouts of this). Hubby calls it "face-rot" which is actually fairly descriptive. It starts as redness and flaking and then if not treated with topical steroids, it will become raw, oozing open sores that crust over like impetigo (burns and itches so bad I want to claw my face off). And to clear THAT up, I need an infection or oral course of steroids.

As a result, I never know what "interesting" thing my body will do, and I never know how much of my weight on the scale is water retention. I can get a good idea by checking for pitting edema in my upper arm or lower leg (you press your finger into the flesh and it leaves an impression that doesn't immediately snap back), or I'll check the fit of my rings (my hands tend to swell if I'm retaining water).

Even when I can tell that I'm retaining water, it's impossible to guess how much. It's why I have to be very, very careful not to overeat as a frustration response to a gain on the scale (but really that applies to any dieter - eating in response to a gain, never helps).

I can't let it freak me out into drastically cutting calories either. I find that low-carb dieting seems to minimize water retention, so if I want to "check" for water retention, I'll often eat very low carb (my normal food plan is moderately low carb). Eating very low carb for a few days seems to help get rid of the water faster (although if you eat too low carb, then when you increase your carbs, some of that water comes back).

I've learned mostly not to focus too much energy on water retention. Or on "exact number" weight for that matter. If you get easily upset over small ups and downs on the scale, you can drive yourself absolutely mad-bonkers-crazy, especially if you have a body that retains water easily or unpredictably.

I have to just "trust the process" and know that if I stick to my food plan consistently, the fat and the extra water will come off eventually.

Esofia
09-23-2011, 12:32 PM
Reviving this thread, I'm now thinking about how painkillers can cause water retention. I've been noticing a pattern linked with taking codeine over the last week or so, and I haven't had any injuries, just standard headaches and muscular pain. On googling codeine and water retention, apparently it's not just me, quite a lot of other people experience water retention from various painkillers. Mind you, it could be tricky to work out where the water retention was caused by the painkiller, an injury if one was present (or something else causing inflammation), a change in eating/drinking pattern, or some other factor which I thought of a minute ago and now can't remember.

kaplods
09-23-2011, 01:55 PM
I recently have been having some dental problems and the dentist prescribed tylenol 3 (codeine) for the pain. I thought of this thread when I saw a gain that had to be water retention (I was barely eating at all because the pain of chewing was so great - but I also didn't go to the gym as usual).

I didn't even think of the codeine, but I have lost what I've gained now that I'm off the codeine, so that's a likely explanation.

It just goes to show you why you have to be very careful to avoid assuming the worst when the scale doesn't give us the feedback we want it to.