How to Heal a Sunburn Fast
Summer is here and with it comes one of the most common skin ailments—sunburn! Find out the do’s and don’ts behind treating sunburn quickly.a
Summertime is all about soaking up those warm sunny days. It’s fun playing in the sun. However, sometimes your fun turns into pain when the sun leaves your skin scorched and irritated, which is often accompanied by sunburn symptoms like blisters, redness and painful skin. Most people are aware of the fact that they should limit their sun exposure time to avoid risking skin cancer and wear SPF 30 on all exposed body parts. Nonetheless, the National Cancer Institute reports that 35.3% of adults aged 18 years and older were sunburned in the past year. Why this shocking revelation? It might take long to realize that you’re being unfair to your skin before symptoms appear. These stats are worrisome, which is why you should always protect your skin.
When stepping out of the door and into the sun, it’s easy to forget to use sunscreen, carry a hat or wear protective clothing. There are times you’ll not remember or be fully prepared for the sun’s heat when venturing outdoors. Whatever the case, you might need to deal with the eventualities. If your skin gets burned in the process, follow this guide on how to treat sunburn to help heal the skin faster.
Things You Can Do to Help a Sunburn
- Reduce sun exposure
It makes sense to get out of the sun. Being outside will do more harm to your skin. The damaged area could expand and worsen. Contact with sand, salt water and chlorine could potentially infect and aggravate the skin, causing even more pain. Wear protective clothing and hats to shield your skin from the sun.
- Cool down your skin
Many sunburns are characterized by a swelling and burning sensation. Soaking the affected area in cool water make the skin feel more comfortable. You can also use cool compresses, but do not apply ice directly to the sunburn. Use gentle cleansers to avoid irritation and moisturize after bathing to lock in moisture.
- Decrease inflammation
Products containing aloe vera, which has an anti-inflammatory effect, can feel soothing. Pop some aloe vera gel in the refrigerator before applying to the skin for a calming experience. You may also consider applying a hydrocortisone cream to help with swelling redness, and discomfort. Remember that for continuous relief from itchiness, you may need to reapply the cream from time to time, since its effect fades as it gets wiped off the skin.
- Be Sure to Hydrate
Sunburn can lead to dehydration, so it is important to drink extra water while you are healing. Add some lemon, mint, or cucumber for a refreshing treat.
- Got Milk?
Milk is packed with proteins that are powerful ingredients for skin recovery, thus calming the inflamed skin and hastening healing. Soak a cloth in a bowl with milk and ice cubes and apply the cloth to the sunburn for a few minutes.
- Take a pill
Once you realize you’ve had too much sun, turn to anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce redness and swelling. Follow correct dosage from the physician or the manufacturer.
- Keep your skin moist
Soaking the skin can temporarily relieve the burn, however, it can lead to dry skin. To counter this, drink lots of water to ensure that you stay well hydrated. Cracks in the skin due to dryness may also pave way for infections. Hence, it is imperative to use a moisturizer to protect the broken layer by sealing it off. Using a moisturizer containing ceramides, such as Cereve, can help repair the skin.
- Visit a dermatology provider
Severe burns can reach underlying tissues and damage blood vessels leading to blood loss. See the doctor immediately when you experience chills, purple discoloration or fever. Before the burn spreads further, seek medical attention to avoid the problem to be compounded by an infection.
Don’ts of Sunburn Treatment
While at home, you might desperately want to treat sunburn or try to alleviate the pain and itchiness. Be cautious! Not everything is good for you. Here are the things you need to avoid…
- Resist popping blisters
If your skin blisters or peels, resist picking and popping to decrease the chances of infections. Picking or peeling burned skin can also lead to permanent scarring.
- Avoid butter and oils
Although the intake of nutrients will repair damaged skin, it does not mean that applying nutrient-rich foods and oils on the burn will cause sunburn relief. Butter and oils such as olive and cooking oil will make the area to continue to hold more heat and continue burning as some studies show.
- Avoid tight clothing
Tight clothing chafes blisters and damages the skin further. Burned skin needs space to breathe and increased blood flow to heal. Loosen tight fittings to prevent inhibition of blood flow that may aggravate inflammation and cause swelling.
Every time you’re outdoors, you’re exposed to the sun. The more you enjoy the sun, the higher the chance of getting sunburned. That doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun. Just make sure to enact safe-sun practices such as seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and applying SPF. Also, make sure to visit your dermatologist regularly.
You may eventually develop sunspots from prolonged time in the sun. Luckily, the professionals at Schweiger Dermatology offer treatments for minimizing the appearance of sun damage.