Scaly, red, tender skin that will turn into an unforgiving itch storm are familiar consequences to those who have experienced a sunburn. Sunburn occurs when your skin cells become overexposed to the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, and become damaged, or literally "cooked" to death. At the same time, your DNA may be indirectly altered by the rays, becoming free radicals that may harm your body in other ways. In fact, any sign of skin tanning signifies that skin cells have already become damaged. If you find yourself inflicted with sunburn, here are some home remedies you can try for relief.
Home Remedies And Treatment
Sometimes, even with your best efforts, you may still end up with a burn. It may take up to six hours for the full symptoms of sunburn to take effect, so be sure to get out of the sun as soon as possible upon the first signs of reddening or tingling of the skin, and take steps to treat the burn. Here are some remedies that can be easily accessed from home to alleviate your tender skin.
- Tepid showers and cool soaks: Cool soaks can greatly calm the skin and provide cooling relief to the burn. During this time, the skin should only tolerate tepid showers rather than hot showers, as the latter may further aggravate discomforts.
- Aspirin: A common, over-the-counter pain reliever that can be found in most homes, aspirin is an effective anti-inflammatory agent that can help decrease swelling and tenderness of the skin. It is also effective if you have a mild fever from the hot sun.
- Aloe: The aloe plant is gradually becoming a common household plant, so this may be an available at-home option for you. To help alleviate a painful burn, carefully split a leaf length-wise and spread the pulpy interior on the affected area.
- Light moisturizer: A light moisturizer, preferably gel-based, would be helpful in minimizing itchy, peeling skin. Keeping your skin hydrated can also help the skin recovery process.
- Stay out of the sun: Until your burn has completely healed, it is important to stay out of the sun to prevent further damage to a vulnerable area. Then, be sure to take preventative measures to avoid future sunburns.
However, if you are experiencing a fever, nausea, or severe dizziness in addition to sunburn, you may be experiencing a heatstroke; be sure to seek immediate medical attention if that is the case.
Foods To Cool Your Body
When you get sunburned, your body can become extremely dehydrated. It is important to rehydrate yourself and eat foods that can help your skin heal faster at this time. Any liquids, such as juice, water, or sports drinks, are great options to replenish lost body fluids. Pop them into the refrigerator for an added cooling bonus.
Sweet and hydrating fruits can be frozen or iced as a welcoming treat to further battle the heat. Usually, vegetables and fruits are ideal hydrating food items because they also pack an antioxidant punch. Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, are crucial in helping the skin repairing process, and in neutralizing free radicals caused by UV rays.
However, be sure to stay away from carbonated beverages to avoid unnecessary sugars, which may make you feel even thirstier than before. Alcohol should be avoided at this time as well, since it will further dehydrate your body.
Food items that have high water content can also be an option to help replenish fluids. Some of such foods include:
- Oranges, grapefruits and other citrus fruits
- All types of berries
- Bell pepper
Tips To Prevent Sunburn
Here are some tips to protect yourself from the sun and prevent sunburn:
- Seek shady areas, especially between the sun's peak hours.
- Avoid UV tanning booths where you can still get a "burn" of the same nature as that of sunburn, with the same risks and consequences!
- Consider safer, self-tanning options to avoid sunburn.
- Try covering up with broad-brimmed hats or oversized sunglasses (make sure they are 100% UV proof). Light long sleeves and pants are also suitable for summer as more breathable protection.
- Apply at least one ounce of sunscreen on your body prior to sun exposure.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, it is important to use a broad spectrum sunscreen (which blocks both UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of 30 or higher every day. Be sure to apply sunscreen even if you are in the shade or during a cloudy day. It is still possible to get burned from the reflective light of cars, snow, buildings or the water. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours, after swimming, excessive swimming or toweling to reinforce UV blockage.