Sunburn Remedies

You apply your mineral based SPF 30+ sunscreen and spend the perfect day at the beach playing in the water, building castles in the sand, and soaking up the rays.  You forget to reapply and don’t realize you’re developing some redness.  As evening approaches you begin feeling some discomfort, feel hot to touch, and possibly even some pain.  The symptoms of a sunburned skin and excessive sun exposure are unmistakable. Here’s some tips to provide sunburn relief and sooth your skin!

Sunburn Treatments

Cool Compresses: Gently apply cloth soaked in cool water to sunburned skin. Holding the cool cloth in place for five minutes will not only relieve pain but also reduce inflammation and swelling.  Alternatively, you could take a cool shower.   Do not use ice or ice cold water.

Aloe Vera: Mild sunburns typically go away in a week to ten days, with more severe burns taking several weeks. You can facilitate the healing process with aloe vera gel. Aloe vera is known to be the best thing for sunburn because it has anti inflammatory properties.  The aloe vera gel products are specifically intended to help soothe a burn and start to heal your skin.

Aspirin: Take an aspirin or other pain reliever.  It will provide some soothing pain relief during the first few days.

Apple Cider Vinegar: One of the several home remedies many people swear by these two ingredients: water and apple cider vinegar. Simply add 1-2 cups to a cool bath and soak your body in it for relief of your symptoms. It’s not advised to apply undiluted apple cider vinegar directly to skin.

Oatmeal & Baking Soda: Another at home bath remedy worth the effort is to add some oatmeal + 2 tablespoons baking soda to a cool or lukewarm bath.  Soak your body in these products for a few minutes for a soothing effect.

Sunburn Mistakes To Avoid

Avoid using lotion, oil, and cream on your skin until the redness has subsided.  These type of products are designed to trap in moisture and hydrate your skin but when you have a sunscreen, they can exacerbate your discomfort by trapping in heat.  Be sure you select aloe vera gel products in order to avoid this.

2nd Degree Sunburns

A second-degree sunburn is sunburn that has affected deeper skin layers and may have caused nerve damage. These burn symptoms include blisters on the skin that may blister and be fill with water. This type of sunburn takes longer to heal and may require medical attention.

If your child is under one-year-old and you suspect they have a second-degree sunburn, call their pediatrician. You should also contact your doctor if your child’s face is swollen or the burn causes fever and chills.  If the sunburned person is over a year old, seek medical care if blisters cover a large surface area of skin or if there is numbness associated with the affected area.

Follow the same recommendations that you would follow for a regular sunburn by applying cool compresses and using aloe vera gel to help soothe.  Do not put ice cold water, or use lotions and creams on 2nd-degree burns. You should not pick at the blisters or force them to pop. However, when the blisters do pop, you should cover them with gauze to keep them clean. If there are any signs of infections, contact your doctor immediately.

Reduce Peeling

If you get a bad sunburn, it’s nearly inevitable that your skin will peel as it begins to heal. The layer of skin that is burned is dead, and it has to come off for new skin to surface. It can be tempting to pick and pull at your skin as it begins to scale off. It would be best if you didn’t do this as you could peel more than necessary and cause skin infections.

When you notice your skin peeling, follow these steps to help remove it without further damaging your skin:

  • Take warm, not hot baths. The warm water will help loosen the peeling skin and help relieve your skin.
  • Use a soft cloth to wipe the peeling areas gently. Don’t use a loofa or exfoliating sponge until most of your new skin is visible. You can cause irritation.
  • Apply an ointment to the peeling area in the evenings. This added moisture will facilitate the peeling process.

It may be tempting to rush the peeling process and start peeling away like you would an onion. However, you run the risk of pain, swelling, and skin infections if you force the skin to come off. Also, if your sunburn has blisters, do not pop or peel these.

Sunburn Prevention

The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that you use a sunscreen of SPF30+ and wear protective clothing during sun exposure. Be sure to apply a full ounce of sunscreen to your entire body if you are outside without a lot of protective clothing on.  Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after water activities.  Apply facial sunscreen daily, even under makeup, whether or not you will be outside for extended periods.  If you have fair skin, freckles, red hair, or a history of sunburns, you should be extra vigilant. Prevent sunburn, and you can prevent skin cancer.

Apply sunscreen generously and reapply often.  Sunscreen is not just for the beach; it should be used when working outside or in any environment where your skin is exposed to the sun.

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