Ways to get sunburn relief this summer
Are you looking for sunburn relief after spending a little too much time under the sun? Sunscreen would’ve been your best friend beforehand. But if you forgot or ran out, sunburn will most likely be your worst enemy if you stay under the sun for hours without protection.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are many ways to get sunburn relief from the stuff available in your house. These home remedies often work well so long as the sunburned skin isn’t that bad, meaning no blisters have appeared and the pain is still tolerable.
If your skin has already started showing symptoms of sunburn, there’s not much you can do to reverse it. The best next step is to, first, get out of the sun immediately. Preserve the parts of your skin that weren’t exposed to the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Next is to scout for the best available remedy near you. If you are at home, this should be easy. Listed in this article are a bunch of home remedies for sunburn relief.
Sunburns can be a health hazard.
In essence, according to experts and professors of dermatology, sunburn is a radiation burn to the skin. The Skin Cancer Foundation states that sunburnt skin goes far beyond just the redness, irritation, and inflammation of the outer layer of the skin. Repeatedly sunburnt areas can have long-term effects such as skin aging. Sunburn is also a leading cause in most cases of pterygium, carcinoma, and melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Mild sunburns can be remedied using a bunch of natural ingredients or over-the-counter medications. To temporarily ease the pain, you will need to avoid tightly woven fabrics for clothes and take anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen. For worse cases, though, you will need to see a doctor immediately. Sunburns that have formed blisters are already considered second-degree burns.
Ten home remedies for sunburn relief
Once you get a sunburnt patch of skin, it can be painful, hot, and itchy. Naturally, you will want to lessen all of these symptoms as soon as possible. Unfortunately for you, there’s no “quick and easy” way to get rid of sunburn immediately. You will need a series of treatments, depending on how badly burnt the skin has become. Sunburns can be mild, moderate, or extreme. It can also cause headaches and fever due to the inflammation of your skin.
As mentioned earlier, get out from under the sun if you don’t have any protection. Lightly cover the sunburnt area to prevent infection if it has started to blister or peel. Cool compressions will greatly help bring down the hotness of the skin but do not apply naked ice directly on the skin. Here are other home remedies you can try for sunburn relief.
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No harsh soaps or shower gels
While it’s very tempting to scrub off the sweat and grime of the day, sunburnt skin does not appreciate heavily-scented soaps and shower gels. If your shower products are not dye-free and unscented, they might irritate and dry out your already-sensitive skin further. Instead, opt for very mild soaps and gels like baby shampoo. Better yet, skip the soap in the areas affected. Carefully pat yourself dry after your shower or cool bath to avoid rubbing the inflamed skin.
Soak in oatmeal and baking soda
Both oatmeal and baking soda have natural anti-inflammatory properties. You can buy finely ground oatmeal in drug stores or make your own using a food processor. First, draw a cool bath. Then add a few heaping tablespoons of the ground oatmeal and baking soda into your tub. Mix them with the water and soak for up to half an hour or more. Alternatively, you can paste these two ingredients plus cool water and apply them to the sunburnt area.
Apply ice or frozen packs
Do not apply ice cubes or blocks directly onto your sensitive skin. This may cause another form of burn from the freezing water. Instead, wrap it in cloth or an ice bag and make a cold compress. Cold compress onto the skin for 15 minutes or more. If you are out of ice, you can use frozen bags of veggies or other preserved food in your freezer.
Slather on aloe vera
Aloe vera is one of the most versatile plants ever. It has many uses, including its extremely moisturizing properties that are now primary ingredients to many beauty and skin products. If you have some of the plants lying around in your backyard, cut it off and apply the gel inside directly on the skin to get sunburn relief. If you don’t have the plant, you can opt for pure aloe vera gel products from the pharmacy or the supermarket. Do a skin test first, as some people are allergic to aloe vera.
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Use coconut oil or light moisturizers.
To prevent the skin from peeling too much, it needs to be moisturized often. Once the inflammation has subsided, your sunburn will turn to dry, patchy skin. Use pure coconut oil or light, water-based moisturizers to combat this dryness. Make sure the products you use are alcohol-free to avoid irritation. Try to apply a moisturizing lotion or gel that is organic and has other skin-restoring ingredients like Vitamin E, collagen, and aloe vera.
Soothe with tea bags
Tea is not only good for your digestive and immune systems. It can be used for sunburn relief as well. Chamomile tea is best because of its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, but green and black teas are also good. Brew the tea as you usually would, let it cool, soak a cloth or gauze with the tea, then apply to the sunburnt areas. You can also directly apply the cooled, wet tea bags if the sunburn is only on a small patch of skin.
Nothing beats good old non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to lessen the pain that sunburn brings. It can also help bring down inflammation and lower your fever and headache if you have one. Treating sunburn with hydrocortisone creams is also a good idea. All of which can be bought from the nearest pharmacy. If you can’t go out to get them yourself, ask a friend or family member to bring them over. You don’t need prescriptions for these, so they should be easy to purchase.
Drink and bathe in cold water
An effective way for sunburn relief is water. Cold, soothing water — drink it, swim in it, soak in it. If you’re outside and near a body of water, freshwater is your best bet to cool down the irritated skin. Saltwater may irritate the skin further, but saline water does help with inflammation. It may hurt, though, so be careful. Pools also have chlorinated waters, so watch out for that. More importantly, when talking about cool water for sunburns, drink it. Rehydrating will help heal your skin cells faster. Drink plenty of cool liquid and fruits and veggies that are rich in water.
Can you get rid of sunburn redness overnight?
While you can get sunburn relief almost immediately from remedies, there is no way to get rid of the redness overnight. This will likely only go away when the skin has completely peeled and healed, replaced with a new, healthy layer. You can reduce the redness by trying some of the remedies listed here, but there’s no guarantee that it will disappear overnight.
Once you get sunburnt skin, your symptoms can get worse over the next 24 to 36 hours. This is unfortunate news, and many don’t know they got sunburnt hours after they soaked in the sun. By the time they see the symptoms, the skin may have already reddened, blistered, or gotten much worse because it didn’t receive immediate treatment.
Why is it important to wear sunscreen?
Think of sunscreens as the invisible barrier between your skin and the harmful UV rays of the sun. It acts as a block for these rays so they can’t penetrate and damage your skin cells. Depending on the sunscreen you use and your physical activity for the day, most sunscreens don’t last for more than six to eight hours. You need to reapply them throughout the day.
To be effective against UV rays, board-certified dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with at least SPF 30. It can block up to 97% of the sun’s UV rays; the higher the SPF, the more it can block. However, no sunscreen can block 100% of these harmful rays. There are also several kinds of sunscreen that you can use for your face, body, and limbs.
Everyone’s been there. Whether you forgot your sunscreen, your product expired, it didn’t have enough SPF, or you didn’t reapply, sunburns can sometimes be unavoidable. Sunburn relief, thankfully, isn’t hard to come by nowadays. There is plenty of stuff in your house that can help, including the essential one, cold water. But always remember that prevention is better than a cure.
Whenever you’re feeling too lazy to put on SPF, remember that important thing you have to go to — you can’t have inflamed, painful skin then. Wear your sunscreen and keep your skin healthy at all times. Your future self will thank you.