Sunburn is a form of radiation burn to the skin from overexposure to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation of the sun. Sunburns can be classified into first-degree-burns and second-degree-burns, the latter causing extreme pain and red blisters, along with possible damage to the nerve endings. The symptoms typically take around 2 hours to develop after your body, including your lips, eyes and scalp, has been exposed to the sunlight.
How to treat sunburn?
Most sunburns do not need any treatment and heal completely within a few weeks. Peeling of the skin is an inevitable part of the process. Avoid exposure to the sun during this time, to prevent further damage. Take a look at some remedies to further the healing process.
Sunburn Relief at Home
- Rehydrate: The importance of drinking lots of water throughout the day to get rid of sunburn cannot be over emphasized.
- Cool Bath: If you have blisters on the skin, be gentle during baths and avoid using the shower. Do not use soap as it will increase the irritation further. You can do this several times in the day to provide relief. Avoid using ice cold water.
- Cool Compress: Taking a bath many times can be a task. You can also wet a piece of cloth with cold water and place it over the affected area. Repeat as often as you need to.
- Cortisone lotion: They contain topical steroids that are helpful in reducing the inflammation commonly associated with sunburns. If you have to use it on your child, please do check up with the physician and use it as recommended on the package.
- Moisturize: Applying an unscented TLC moisturizer that contains Vitamin C and Vitamin E is effective to make flaking less noticeable. It is, however, recommended only after the blisters show signs of recovery.
- Ibuprofen or Aspirin: Any of these can be effective to reduce the pain and inflammation. However, take it only in recommended doses and do not give it to children.
- Skin lotions and cleansers like Noxzema can also be used for this purpose. However, it is important to make sure you are not allergic to any of its ingredients before using.
Natural Sunburn Treatment
- Aloe Vera: It is extremely useful for treating skin problems and gently applying natural aloe vera extract or gel can be the best remedy for a bad sunburn.
- Cornstarch: Use some water to make a thick paste and apply it to the burned area to soothe the itch.
- Cocoa Butter: It restores the moisture of the skin, helping to cure the itch associated with sunburn.
- Tea Bags: Soak tea bags in cold water and use the tea as a compress against your burns. Tannic acid contained in tea has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe your rash.
- Lettuce: Boil lettuce leaves in water. Then drain the liquid into a container and cool it in the fridge. Apply this liquid to your burns using cotton balls.
- Tea Tree Oil: It is a natural antiseptic and can be applied directly on the burned area, after dilution with water
- Baking Soda: It has an alkaline nature, helping to balance the pH of the skin, thereby neutralizing inflammation. Make a thick paste using water and apply it directly on the skin.
- Honey: It is a natural anti-biotic which repairs damaged skin by trapping its moisture and can be a very effective remedy for sunburn itch. Honey can also be effective for sunburned pet dogs.
- Lavender Oil: It is a natural antiseptic, promoting new skin growth. Apply it directly on your burned skin for immediate relief.
- Coconut Oil: It can work wonders as a moisturizer to soothe your dry and burnt skin.
- Potato Paste: It has been traditionally used as a pain reliever for skin discrepancies and may be helpful to draw the heat out.
- Epsom Salt: Dissolve Epsom salt in water and apply the compress on the burns to provide relief.
- Apple cider vinegar: It has been used since the oldest of times as a cure for sunburn and might be helpful in cases of mild burns.
- Yogurt: The probiotics in it are extremely beneficial for the skin, helping you to recover faster. Apply cold yogurt to your face and wash it off after 5 minutes. It shall provide some relief.
- Cucumber: It has anti-oxidant and analgesic properties and has been used to provide instant relief to burned skin. You can apply it by cutting it into slices or making a paste.
- Witch Hazel: It is an astringent, has numerous anti-inflammatory properties and can be effective to cure burnt skin.
Pregnant women with sunburns can use the above natural remedies, but it is advisable to consult your doctor to minimize any risk.
How to cure severe sunburn?
Severe sunburn can increase the chances of skin cancer. If your burns show no signs of recovery in a few days, consult a dermatologist immediately.
What to do to prevent sunburn?
- Avoid tanning booths and sunbaths: Going to tanning booths can be harmful, as they have the same level of UV radiation as the sun. Self tanning products can be a safe alternative to lying out in the sun or using tanning booths.
- Use Sunscreen: Before going outdoors in the scorching heat, remember to use a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher to avoid getting sunburned in the first place.
- Proper clothing: Wear hats, long clothes that cover your whole body and sunglasses to protect yourself from the scorching sun.
You can also alter your diet to include food items like Guavas, Watermelon, Sockeye Salmon, Lobster, Crabs, Grapes and Pistachios to strengthen your skin’s natural sun block.