We forgive you! We know it happens! Try as you might there will be times when you get a sunburn. Whether you left your sunscreen at home or didn’t reapply it enough times, we understand that it’s going to happen. So when it does there are tips and remedies that can help ease the pain and speed healing.
Cool it down
Water is the easiest and most immediate remedy for sunburned skin. A cool, wet towel is welcome relief from the pulsing heat. Place a damp towel over your sunburn for 10 minutes or so several times a day. Don’t be afraid to use ice; just don’t put the ice directly on your skin.
Besides water, topical astringents such as witch hazel (directly on skin) or apple cider vinegar (add a cup to cool bathwater) act as anti-inflammatories and can minimize swelling while temporarily relieving discomfort.
A fan blowing directly on your skin can help lower your body temperature, too. Cool air can also help you sleep, which can be uncomfortable otherwise. Rest is a key component of healing, so switch on that fan!
Hydrate inside AND out
Fight the drying effects of sunburn with a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy. Aloe cools your skin and relieves pain. If your sunburn is particularly bad, use a hydrocortisone cream.
If your skin is too tender for rubbing in lotion, try an aerosol hydrocortisone or aloe product. Just be sure to avoid your face and eyes when applying.
Don’t forget to hydrate yourself as well. Having a sunburn is very dehydrating, so drink extra water.
Raise them up
If your feet are burned, raise them up above the level of your heart to help minimize swelling. Ibuprofen is another option to minimize swelling, with the added benefit of temporarily reducing pain.
Keep an eye on it
Make sure you watch how your sunburn is healing and whatever you do… DO NOT POP BLISTERS. They are your body’s way of preparing the next layer of skin to replace what’s been damaged. Take extra care to protect sunburned skin while it heals. If a blister should pop, keep it clean and use an ointment like petrolatum to help guard against infection. Also avoid further sun exposure and injury while the sunburn is healing.
REMEMBER… if your symptoms escalate, if you suffer from nausea, chills, fever, lightheadedness, if there is significant pain, if the blisters cover a large portion of the affected area… CALL YOUR DOCTOR.
FINALLY… remember that sunburns cause damage to the skin and can increase the risk of skin cancer. So prepare for the next time you enjoy the outdoors by purchasing in advance and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen, sun-protective clothing, hats and sunglasses.