We all know the health risks of too much sun or sunburns. The sun can cause aging skin and skin cancer. Yet sometimes, you forget the sunscreen, forget to apply or simply don’t apply enough to avoid summer sunburn. For the day when you are red and uncomfortable, here are some natural cures to help you feel better fast.
First, cool down with a compress dipped in cold water. Adding a little vinegar or witch hazel can also draw out the burning sensation. You can also dip cotton balls in witch hazel and wipe on your skin for small areas, such as your ears or toes. Lay the compress over the burn and do several times a day for 10-15 minutes. If your sunburn starts to itch, add aluminum acetate to the water to help keep skin from getting too dry and itchy.
There are also several common food items that may be in your kitchen right now that can speed along the sunburn healing process. Take an oatmeal bath or wrap dry oatmeal in a cloth and run cool water through it, then get rid of the oatmeal and soak the compress in water and apply. Other food items that work well to cool you off are: fat-free milk, cornstarch, lettuce, tea bags, and yogurt. Cornstarch and water make a nice paste that you can leave on your sunburn and tea bags are excellent for burned eyelids to ease swelling.
When you are severely sunburned, you will need to avoid soap, which can dry and irritate your skin. Try taking a cool bath and add vinegar, oatmeal, Aveeno soothing bath treatments or baking soda to your bath tub. This will help reduce the pain and irritation you’re feeling. After you bathe or use a cold compress, be sure to moisturize. You will need to use a lot of lotion or aloe vera gel to keep the areas moisturized since they have become so dry and red. For extra relief, put your lotion in the freezer for a short time to make it cool.
Keep in mind that sunburns can dehydrate you, so be sure to drink plenty of water and fill up on foods like tomatoes and watermelon that have a high water content. Take it easy and rest, eat healthy and try to relax to heal faster. If sleeping is difficult because of the severity or placement of the burn, try sprinkling talcum powder on your sheets and sleep with your legs and feet elevated if they are swollen from the burn. Also, try sleeping with a cool fan on you. If you have severe burning or blisters, you may want to visit your doctor for prescription cream or if the burn is severe enough, you may have to visit the hospital for treatment. Especially go in for treatment if you are experiencing other symptoms such as chills, nausea or the burns are becoming purple.
Lastly, use this time to remind yourself of the sun care rules so you don’t get burned again. Always apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors, no matter the weather. Go for SPF 15 or 30 and re-apply often. Don’t forget often overlooked areas, such as lips, ears, neck, back and hands. Wear protective clothing or hats.
Have you ever had a bad sunburn despite your efforts to be sun savvy? Remember, don’t beat yourself up if you do end up with a burn, just promise yourself to increase your efforts to protect your skin and your health.
Share with us your tried and true sunburn cures or let us know if these have worked for you in the past!