10 Sunburn Home Remedies

Sunburns.

We have each had one. And likely more than once.

In fact, more than 1 out of every 3 Americans reports getting sunburned each year.

And they can be super unpleasant!
The red, hurt to touch and even lie down type of sunburn!

We are meant to be in the sun, soaking up that Vitamin D!
And even when we try our best to prevent sunburns by using sunscreen…
Sometimes…that sunburn just sneaks up on us.

Even just 15 mins of sun exposure can cause a sunburn.

And if you’re like me, when you burn…

You turn into a TOMATO!

I always wear something to protect my skin…

But sometimes when I am working in the garden all day, I forget to replenish my skin with protection…

And the next thing I know…

I am red and sore!

Sunburns may not seem like a big deal…just some sore skin…

But in fact, they can be very harmful to our skin.

A sunburn is an inflammatory response to UV damage. Severe and repeated UV light exposure that results in sunburn can increase the risk of skin damage, such as dark spots, rough spots, and dry or wrinkled skin. It also raises the risk of skin ailments and disorders. You can prevent sunburn and related conditions by protecting your skin.

Experts recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. And what some of us may not realize is that our sunscreen is often not applied thoroughly or thickly enough, and it can be washed off during swimming or sweating – so we do not have all-day coverage like we think we do. So applying multiple times throughout the day is the best way to protect your skin.

A water-resistant one is best for days at the beach or warm days where you might sweat it off. If you are fair-skinned and prone to burns, it is important for you to remember to apply as much as you can. Ideally, every 2 hours is best for sunscreen to be effective throughout the day.

Some other tips to avoid a sunburn is to:

  • Avoid the sun during peak hours. Generally, this is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Stay in the shade if you can, especially on high UV days. I always check how high the UV index is for the day when I plan my time outside. Anything above a UV report of 5 is considered high and you should take the most precautions. 
  • Wear sun-protective clothing. This may seem impossible on super hot days, but even just a hat and sunglasses can go a long way! 
  • Remember that you can still burn on overcast days! Many UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds. So a cloudy sky doesn’t mean you won’t burn! 

As I said, sometimes sunburns just sneak up on us. So if that does happen, try some of these home remedies to tame the burn and alleviate some of the symptoms.

10 Tips To Treating A Sunburn

  1. Get out of the sun ASAP! If you feel you are burned, immediately go inside or in the shade, and stay out of the sun until your sunburn fades. Exposure to more sunlight will only make things worse.
  2. Hydrate. Drink a lot of water, juice, or sports drinks with electrolytes. Your skin is dry and dehydrated from the sun so replacing lost body fluids will help your skin heal from sunburn more quickly.
  3. Place a cold compress on the sunburned skin for immediate relief. A cool shower or bath is also recommended to soothe the skin. 
  4. Try a soak. (Avoid soaps or heavy perfumes in the soak) Some baths you can try that have been known to help sunburns are:
      ● Apple Cider Vinegar- to help balance the pH (acid or alkalinity) of sunburned skin, and promote healing.            
    ● Oatmeal bath- to help alleviate itchy and dry skin
    ● Lavender or chamomile essential oil to the bath to help relieve some of the stinging and discomfort.
    ● 2 cups of baking soda or cornstarch- both can help relieve itching and inflammation caused by the burn. 
  5. Use lotions that contain Aloe Vera to help soothe and moisturize the skin. Aloe soothes and restores damaged skin and can be used for both fresh sunburns and skin that is peeling. Witch hazel applied to the skin can help reduce inflammation from the burn.
  6. Brew a pot of black tea with 2-4 tea bags and then allow it to steep and cool completely before applying to your skin with a washcloth. The tannic acid in black tea can help draw heat from sunburned skin, and aids in restoring the pH balance.
  7. When the skin is peeling, apply cold milk. Cold milk (and even yogurt!) can also be soothing on sunburned skin as it can help exfoliate the skin with the lactic acid property of milk. You can apply this the same way as tea.  
  8. Apply Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and can help decrease inflammation caused by sunburn as well as peeling skin. 
  9. Cucumbers have natural antioxidant and analgesic properties (which offer relief). Chill some cucumbers, then mash in a blender to create a paste, and then apply to affected sunburned areas, including the face. Cucumber also can be soothing for peeling skin following a sunburn.
  10. If you blister, leave them alone! Blisters are a sign of a very severe sunburn and should not be picked at. This goes with peeling. You will be tempted to peel the skin off more, but picking at it will only damage the skin further. If you are blistering, covering them up will help prevent them from tearing and allow them to heal without being bothered. 

Don’t let a sunburn ruin your time in the sun. Take as many precautions as you can, and if you do get one, treat it as fast as you can so you can get back to enjoying the summer sun!

Resources:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/sunburn

https://www.hhs.gov/surgeongeneral/reports-and-publications/skin-cancer/fact-sheet/index.html#:~:text=More%20than%201%20out%20of,in%20the%20U.S.%20each%20year.

https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/injured-skin/burns/treat-sunburn

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