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How to Heal A Sunburn - The Mega Guide for Summer Sunburn Remedies

15th Aug 2017

On those beautiful days when the weather is perfect for relaxing outside and the sun is shining we are all guilty of forgetting about the risk of sunburn. 

In the event that you or one of your companions gets a little too much sun, do you know what to do about a really bad sunburn? 

Knowing how long it takes for sunburns to heal and having some tips and tricks on how to get rid of a sunburn fast will help you face the sun’s UV rays on days spent outdoors.

Knowing The Signs Of A Sunburn

Unsure how you can tell if you have a sunburn? It actually helps to understand the science of what is happening to make sense of what you see on the surface. As the sun’s rays strike your skin, ultraviolet A and B waves penetrate your cells causing damage and death to some cells. The damage results in inflammation, causing is to give the typical red and swollen appearance of a sunburn. Cell death is the culprit behind your skin peeling off a few days after the initial burn.

For severe burns, the skin will blister forming sac of fluid between the dermis and epidermis of your skin. These blisters visible at the surface as a sign of serious sun damage.

A sunburn may look different on different people as it is influenced by many factors such as age, amount of melanin which gives us our individual skin tones, and amount of UV ray exposure.

Tips For Treating Sunburns

The signs of a sunburn can quickly be detected by visible redness or skin irritation from the burn. Start treating the sunburn as soon as it is identified so you can get rid of a sunburn’s immediate discomfort.

1. Soothe To Relieve Pain and Discomfort

The first step after realizing you have a sunburn is to get out of the sun! Prolonging the exposure to the harmful UV rays will only damage your skin further.

To ease the burning sensation on your skin, take measures to cool off such as taking a cool bath or used soaked clothes for a compressed cool-down. Both of these methods are gentle on the skin which will help reduce any further irritation. Avoid taking showers or using soaps which will be harsh on your sensitive sunburn.

If you are feeling any soreness or tenderness preventing you from normal activities such as sleeping, ibuprofen pain relievers like Advil can help reduce inflammation and pain.

2. Natural Home Remedies

When it comes to finding the best remedy for a sunburn, people also ask how to heal a sunburn faster. This is where home remedies can be a great option to consider. When treating a sunburn, timing is key. You will want to identify the burn as soon as possible and begin treatment immediately by cooling the affected areas. By using some common household pantry items you can quickly mix together natural lotions and creams without harmful chemicals.

Cold Yogurt

Cold plain yogurt contains probiotics which are living organisms that can actually help to repair damage on the surface of your skin. Spread a thin layer over the burn for 10 minutes before washing away with cool water. These sought after probiotics can also be found in natural skincare creams and lotions.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Did you know you can use apple cider vinegar for sunburn? Dilute with water and add to a spray bottle for a refreshing mist. Plus, the vinegar acts as an antiseptic, protecting your skin from bacteria.

Raw Honey

Honey can also be used as a soothing antiseptic. Be sure to cover applied areas with gauze to prevent any sticky messes.

Coconut Oil

A sunburn damages your skin and strips it of its natural oils. Restore them by applying a layer of coconut oil. There are also body lotions made with coconut milk and water which help restore moisture. Once the oils are replenished you will notice less discomfort from having dry skin.

Essential Oils

These oils are concentrated extracts from there mother plant and are known for their soothing properties. When it comes to sunburns, but mixing a few drops of essential oils such as lavender or grapefruit in a spray bottle with water makes a great cooling mist.

Milk

The fat and protein found in milk provide protection and soothing relief to sunburns. By mixing a solution of milk and water with the addition of ice cubes to adding for a cooling effect, this can be applied to the skin. Using a clean cloth, dip the the cloth into the milk solution then gently press on affected areas.

Corn Starch

This common pantry item can be used in two different ways to soothe your sunburn. Mix it with water to create a milky paste to spread over your burns to provide instant cooling relief. At night, dust your bed sheets lightly with dry cornstarch to minimize friction which can further irritate a sunburn.

Baking Soda

This will work similarly to corn starch but may be more readily available in many households. The alkalinity helps to balance the pH of the skin while its antiseptic properties reduce any chance of infections. A paste can be made by combining with water then applying to affected areas. A soothing bath can also be accomplished by adding a cup of baking soda directly to a tub drawn with room temperature water.

Witch Hazel

You may have heard of it used in facial beauty products, but is witch hazel good for a sunburn? Yes, it is! Rich in tannins, a naturally occurring chemical, when used in a form of an extract and applied to the surface of a sunburn it provides cooling relief and reduces swelling.

Oatmeal

Finely grind some old-fashioned oats in your blender or food processor to create an oat powder to add to your post-sunburn bath. This helps to soothe inflammation and itchiness. You can also use cooked oatmeal as a sunburn paste. Cook the oats with milk or water and let them cool completely for adding onto the skin. Let it sit for half an hour then wash away, taking care not to scrub too hard, irritating the skin.

Aloe Vera

If you have an aloe vera plant at home, you can extract the gel from the leaves and apply it directly to the sunburn to moisturize the skin. Alternatively, you can purchase natural aloe vera gel at your closest drugstore. Keep your aloe vera in the fridge or freeze it into Ice cube molds for a more cooling effect.

Potatoes

These vegetables have a ton of moisture and starches to ease the irritation caused by a sunburn. Simply cut the potato into slices and very gently rub over affected areas.

Tomatoes

This fruit is rich in the antioxidant lycopene which can actually help prevent you from getting a sunburn if included in your diet, but can also help heal you after the fact. Placing slices of tomato on your body can be quite messy so instead use a tomato gel. You can also make your own natural aftercare lotion. Chop a tomato and drain out the juices into a bowl using a cloth. Add some plain yogurt and mix, then apply to burn areas.

Cucumbers

Since they contain so much water, cucumbers can help you cool off after too much sun. They also contain many vitamins and minerals which can help repair sun damaged skin. Make a cucumber paste by mashing them in a blender then apply to the skin.

Tea Bags

To provide soothing relief after a sunburn, brew some black tea. Let it cool down completely then soak a clean cloth in the tea and lay it over a sunburn. This is a great natural remedy when your “home” is a hotel during vacation. Tea bags are usually available on all airplanes and at hotels so you can always easily prepare this remedy.

3. How To Prevent Peeling

The UV ray damage to your skin cells is so severe after a sunburn that it leads to cell death. New cells regenerate to heal over top and form a new layer of skin, but the death cells need to be removed. This is the process behind your skin peeling post sunburn. The skin peeling off are actually your dead skin cells.

If you want to prevent peeling, you’ll need to act quickly. This starts with the detecting the sunburn as soon as possible. Immediately seek shade to stop exposure to the sun. Everything you do after this point should aim to introduce moisture back into you skin cells and to avoid further irritation or cell damage.

Tale an anti inflammatory like Advil to reduce any swelling. Then you can begin cooling the skin by taking a shower, cold compresses, or by using one of the natural home remedies above. After cooling off in water, apply body lotion to retain moisture.

It is also very important to drink water after a sunburn. This will help hydrate your body from the inside out. This same principle can be applied to your diet. Eating a balanced diet provides nutrients to your cells which promotes cell repair and overall health.

Avoid any activities which cause unnecessary friction against your skin such as wearing tight fitting clothing or using shower loofahs Remember that cell death and peeling skin is normal to occur after a sunburn so it is not always avoidable.

4. After Prolonged Exposure

After a long day in the sun, your skin may be left dry and damaged. Restore nutrients into your skin cell with vitamin D to promote cell repair and reduce other symptoms of sunburn such as redness and irritation.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient which most of us have heard we get from the sun. Actually, prolonged UV exposure prevents us from getting our daily dose of the vitamin and leaves us only with a sunburn. New studies are showing that individuals who take vitamin D supplements were less likely to have a severe sunburn. This research looks promising but is still being explored for the time being.

In some cases, intense exposure to UV rays can result in a serious sunburn where blisters will form over burned areas. There can sometimes be conflicting information available on how to treat blisters. The main question ask is whether to pop them or not. You’re best best is not to burst them open, leaving them prone to infection, but rather to pierce them. Using a sterile needle make a small puncture to allow the built up fluid to drain.

Always Try Your Best To Avoid A Sunburn

As always, prevention is the first step in avoiding a sunburn. But in the hot summer months, sometimes the sun gets the best of us. The health risks of sunburn are not always taken seriously when everyone is trying to catch a summer tan but they are indeed very real as sunburn can lead to skin cancer.

With so many natural home remedies available, you can be confident you won’t have to suffer from sunburn this summer. Using natural ingredients typically found in households, sunburn relief can be accessible to make and quick to apply.

Take special care to not only avoid over exposure, but also to avoid re-exposure after getting a sunburn. After the initial burn your skin will be damaged and in repair mode. If faced with further exposure to harmful UV rays, it will only incur greater damage. You can still enjoy the summer weather but take precautions to prevent your skin from sunburn.

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