5 Quick Tips To Instantly Soothe a Sunburn
After spending months in the “Great Indoors” during lock down due to COVID-19, hitting the beach, lake or river sounds quite enticing. What’s not to love? Fresh air, cool water and a day of soaking in the sun. Good times are also good for the body, but it’s easy to overdo it when you’re busy having fun.
Forgetting to reapply sunscreen can result in a painful burn that makes sleep impossible and wearing clothes unbearable. We’re not going to harp on the value of sunscreen here, but it’s important to note that UCLA Associate Clinical Professor, M.D., and F.A.A.D. Glynis Ablon says, “A tan or burn is sun damage. You are damaging your cells and that is what leads to skin cancer and wrinkles.”
DIY Sunburn Relief
Since even sunscreen devotees make mistakes, remedying them quickly is a priority. While you’re mulling over Dr. Ablon’s wisdom, let’s turn down the heat on that scorching sunburn. These five options will get you on the road to recovery in no time.
1. Water – Before you start treating the outside, rehydrate your body from the inside. A sunburn can cause dehydration, so sip cool water to replace what’s been lost. Eating water-dense foods, like cantaloupe, cucumbers, watermelon, and tomatoes will also fuel your body while replenishing lost moisture.
2. Oatmeal – , or Oat Kernel Extract as it’s often listed on skincare products, reduces inflammation, moisturizes, and calms and soothes the skin. Grind a handful of oats in your food processor then add them to a tub of cool water. Soak for no more than 20 minutes and then pat your skin dry with the fluffiest towel you own. And, remember to leave the soap and body wash in the shower given cleansing products can irritate sunburnt skin, as can warm water.
Beautytap Advisors (aestheticians, facialists, makeup artists, and beauty professionals) recommend this cream with Avena Sativa.
3. Tea – You’ve probably used damp tea bags to relieve puffy eyes after a good cry, but they also relieve sunburn pain. Camellia sinensis, also prominent in skincare, contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are said to soothe sunburnt skin. Simply soak a few tea bags in cool water then apply them to your skin and rest for a few minutes.
4. Aloe Vera – Long revered for its wound healing properties, aloe vera gel can easily be found in most grocery or drug stores. Before you commence to slathering your parched self, make sure your go-to gel is alcohol-free to avoid further irritation. Dr. Ablon recommends using aloe vera either mixed into a moisturizer or on its own to ease sunburn discomfort. “We know inflammation is not good for our body,” Dr. Ablon says, “so I recommend cooling the skin with anti-inflammatories like aloe vera. Everyone should have an aloe plant at home. Just cut off a leaf and put it in the fridge” then apply the gel to the sunburn every hour.
Beautytap Advisors (aestheticians, facialists, makeup artists, and beauty professionals) recommend this aloe vera cream.
5. Over-the-Counter Pain Medication – If you’re in pain, both acetaminophen and ibuprofen will give you some relief. Health providers often recommend ibuprofen, though, because it also reduces inflammation.
While most sunburn symptoms resolve with at-home care, seek medical attention if you’re experiencing severe sunburn pain or find it difficult to function normally.