If you enjoy being outdoors as much as I do, then it’s very likely that you’ve experienced a sunburn or two during your lifetime. And, boy oh boy, are they hard to forget. The pain, the redness, the peeling…it’s a disaster for your skin. The one you always look for after a sunburn is a way to help soothe your poor aching skin.
Unprotected sun exposure is a key contributor to skin damage, premature aging and even skin cancer. But let’s face it, even those of us who take every precaution to protect our skin against the harmful UVA and UVB rays can sometimes mess up. And when we get a sunburn, we sure do pay the price. So, if you forgot to take cover in the shade, didn’t wear your sunscreen or simply forgot to reapply after a quick dip in the pool, I have a few tips to help calm your skin. And remember, for any serious burn, seek medical attention.
Get out of the sun right away. The longer your skin is exposed, the more damage you may get. This exposure can ultimately increase your chances of skin cancer. Take cover immediately.
Check for blisters. If your skin has blistered as a result of sunburn, then you should consider seeking medical attention as soon as possible.
No one wants to derail his or her summer plans because of sunburn. Go out and enjoy. Just remember to stay covered up and in the shade, wear an SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen and reapply throughout the day. If your skin starts to get red, remove yourself from the sun. Hey, there are a lot of indoor activities that are fun, too. Think movies, bowling, mani-pedi and my favorite—shopping.
If your body feels like it’s on fire after getting sunburned, then take a moment to cool down. Take a cool shower or bath to help alleviate the discomfort and keep your overall body temperature from rising. Avoid washcloths, as they can feel like course sandpaper gnawing at your skin. If you can, forget about using soap. Some harsh cleansers and fragrances in your bar soap or shower gel can aggravate your already irritated skin.
Don’t linger too long in the tub. If you soak for too long, chances are your skin will become dryer and more irritated. Remember, dry skin leads to itching, and scratching a sunburn leads to pain!
If you don’t have access to a cool shower or bath right away, then try spraying your skin with cold water or applying cold compresses.
Depending on the location and severity of your sunburn, try to avoid any tight clothing. The straps on your bathing suit, the waistband on your pants and even the collar on your shirt can become major causes of irritation. So, as soon as you can, take off your clothes to prevent any unnecessary tightness or rubbing of your sunburned skin. If you can stay unclothed, then go for it. If you can’t, cover up with loose fitting, lightweight clothing to avoid the pain.
There is no substitute for a true anti-irritant product. Look for a product that lists among its indications treatment of sunburn and skin irritation. These products are formulated to address the symptoms of sunburn and in the U.S.A. are over-the-counter drugs. Sunburn is a medical condition that should be treated properly.
When your skin is fried, it’s also diminished in the moisture it needs to function at its best. Replenish your entire body with water during this time. When your body is hydrated, it will help to soothe sunburn and heal faster. So, drink up. This is also a good time to nourish and hydrate the skin’s surface to keep it from becoming dry, more irritated and itchy.
With most sunburn comes pain and inflammation. Taking an over the counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can definitely help with the discomfort. Always take medication as directed on the label, and discontinue use if you have any issues.