Sunburn usually happens after prolonged exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays and it is important to soothe it as quickly as possible to prevent further damage.
Summer's here which means we cannot bask under the sun's glorious warmth for at least a few months. It's time to slap on the sunscreen and get our summer hats out to protect our skin from sun damage. Sometimes though, when we are in a hurry, we tend to forget about taking these precautions and end up having sunburns. According to Mayo Clinic, sunburn usually happens after prolonged exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. In mild cases, the skin turns red and is painful and hot to the touch. Repeated exposure to it could risk other skin damage like dark, rough spots, wrinkled, dry, and blistered skin, loss of fluids, and an electrolyte imbalance. In extreme cases, it can cause melanoma, a type of skin cancer.
For extreme cases, you need to keep yourself hydrated and remain in the cooling environment of your home until the burns have faded. Using cool compressions, baths, and some essential oils could also help relieve the pain. But when the sunburn symptoms are mild, it may take about 4-7 days for the damaged skin to peel off. Below listed are a few home remedies that can help you get rid of mild to moderate sunburns quickly:
Cold water is one of the easiest ways to treat the inflammation of the skin. Drawing a bath or showering in cold water can help calm your sunburned skin. If you're near a water body, hopping into it from time to time may also be effective to help with sunburn immediately and preventing further damage. However, make sure you don't get into a chlorinated pool as it could irritate your skin further. Also, avoid applying ice directly to the affected skin as it could be more damaging to your already sensitive and sunburned region.
To relieve the itchy, sunburned skin you can soak in an oatmeal bath, which will help retain moisture and soothe the irritation.
According to Healthline, dissolving a few tablespoons (2 cups) of baking soda into your tub and soaking for around 15 to 20 minutes will also helo minimize sun damage.
Adding a cup of apple cider vinegar to the bath can also promote healing and balancing the pH (acid or alkalinity) of your affected skin, reports Medicinenet.
Lavender or chamomile essential oil can also help reduce the stinging if added to the bath.
This would be the best time to get an aloe vera plant if you don't already have one at home. The gel inside this succulent has many healing benefits and has been used for centuries to rid ailments, including stomach issues and even kidney infections. But in the case of sunburned skin, the gel encased between its thick leaves can help soothe minor sunburns and relieve the sting. You can apply the plant's gel directly onto your skin or purchase 100 percent aloe vera gel from pharmacies if you don't have the plant.
Not only are teas soothing to drink but also helpful while reliving sunburned skin. You can brew some chamomile tea like you normally would but before applying it to the affected area with a cloth, cool it down first. However, don't do so if you are allergic to pollen. Black tea is another option as the tannic acid present in it helps draw heat from the skin and also helps to restore the pH balance. For a cooling effect, you can add some mint to the tea as well. Teabags soaked in cold water can be applied to sunburned eyelids to reduce inflammation and soothe the damaged area.
Using a clean cloth, you can apply cool (not cold) milk to the affected skin as it creates a protein film to reduce discomfort. You can also use yogurt for it.
A paste of cornstarch and water can be used to soothe the damaged skin.
Cucumber is known for its pain-relieving and natural antioxidant properties. Applying a paste of chilled cucumber to the sunburned skin can soothe the area and also help when the skin is peeling off.
A mash of cooled-down boiled potatoes can act as a dressing to sunburned areas as the starch in it helps draw out heat. It may also help speed up the healing process and reduce pain.
The water content in your body is easily lost when you go out in the sun. Keeping yourself hydrated will help replace the lost body fluids quickly and in turn aid in the healing of the sunburned skin quickly. If you aren't already doing it, remember to drink eight glasses of water a day. Try to remain in a cool, well-shaded place to avoid further damage to the skin.
Once the initial treatment is done, feed your skin with moisture to avoid or at least reduce the skin from peeling. You can use a fragrance- and dye-free moisturizer which is specifically for sensitive skin or use coconut oil to calm your skin. However, remember not to use coconut oil as sunscreen as it would cause your skin to burn more.
Please visit your physician if the sunburn is very severe and follow their medical advice.
Representative cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by solar22, Inset: Photo by (top) Tetiana Garkusha, (bottom) MaksimYremenko