How To: Treat a Sunburn

Hello lovelies! I’m back from the shore and back to the daily grind. We had a wonderful time in Maryland, lots of food consumed, lots of sunscreen applied.

I did notice a rather disturbing trend while at the beach: Lots of people dutifully applying their sunscreen, but while they were already in the sun having just staked out their area and laid down their towels.

Sunscreen needs at least 20 minutes to absorb into the skin to provide protection, putting it on at the shore is like being unprotected in the blazing sun for half an hour. Not good, so read up and apply your sunscreen before you put on your bathing suit so you don’t miss an inch or a second of protection time!

Getting just six sunburns in your lifetime will increase your chances of developing melanoma by 50 percent. Sunscreen, and practicing smart sun exposure, is so crucial. I know a lot of girls who purposefully fry their skin in hopes of getting a burn. Crazy right? Their misguided belief is that a burn will somehow magically fade into a tan. Wrong. A burn is an injury on top of your already tanned skin. Sunburns are dangerous, and can be easily avoided.

If however, you find yourself lobster red, here are some ways to handle it:

Run for shelter. If you’re in the sun and feel irritated or tender you’re burning. Seek shade and cover up. If you can read in the shade the sun’s rays are still reaching you. Avoid the sun in the days to come as you will be more prone to burning again. You don’t want to add insult to injury.

Soothe. Milk and tea sounds delicious doesn’t it? It also works wonders on your sunburned, inflamed skin. If milk baths were good enough for Cleopatra they are good enough for you. Swish some in a cool bath {full fat your skin won’t absorb the calories I promise} the lactic acid will help gobble up dead skin cells and will calm redness and irritation.

Cold comfort. If you’re only burned on certain areas, use a washcloth steeped in cold milk or cold tea to make a comforting compress and hold it to the affected areas for five to ten minutes. Tea has tannic acids that can help alleviate the uncomfortable burn. The cold will help provide instant relief. You want to bring down the inflammation as quickly as possible.

Natural is best. I know those after sun exposure sprays look tempting but they can actually cause you more grief with their irritating benzocaine and lidocaine. Opt for all natural 100% pure aloe vera gel instead. For a refreshing boost, chill the aloe vera gel in the fridge prior to application.

Gulp some h20. Just like when you have a fever, you lose a lot of fluids when you’re nursing a sunburn so drink lots of water. Pop ibuprofen or another NSAID to help with swelling and discomfort. It’s all about getting the inflammation down as soon as possible to calm redness and help lessen the damage.

Don’t pick! Some of you may have the urge to peel and pick at your peeling skin. Please refrain from doing so as this could cause further damage to your new, delicate skin. Let your skin shed itself. Save your body scrubs until after your skin has healed. Instead, focus your efforts on keeping the burned area lubricated.

Keep your skin moist. Moisturize like you’ve never moisturized before. Use only natural hydrating products. I love body oils-the more hydrated the flesh the better and the less likely you will be tempted to peel. Avoid fragranced lotions as these could cause further irritation.

Baby your skin. Sunburned skin is sensitized skin, baby it. You can apply some hydrocortisone cream to help lessen redness and irritation. After your skin has healed, reach for products that contain antioxidants to protect your new fragile skin. Layering antioxidant products underneath your daily sunscreen bolsters your protection from the sun’s damaging rays. For more on antioxidants read this.

Sunburns are painful and dangerous but more than anything they are preventable. Be sure and protect your skin with at least an SPF 30 everyday. If you apply it everyday upon showering it becomes a habit, like brushing your teeth. I’m really loving this and it’s become my new everyday lotion, I highly recommend it. Sunscreen is a fabulous product, and I break it all down for you here with my ABC’s of: Sunscreen, but nothing beats common sense. Avoid the sun during peak hours whenever possible, and cover up with light clothing, sunglasses, and a hat. I know the allure of a golden tan all too well, but the only safe tan is a sunless one. Make smart choices and protect your skin, this summer and everyday.

What do you do to prevent sunburns?

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3 Responses to How To: Treat a Sunburn

  1. Jessica says:

    I wish I had read this before I had the worst burn of my life this summer. I was dripping in aloe after, but I think a milk bath would have felt better.

  2. [...] but trouble. It’s like the old adage, hindsight is 20/20. That’s why I stress the importance of sunscreen, encourage you to get a safe tan from a bottle, remind you to take your vitamins, avoid cigarettes [...]

  3. [...] and my SPF PSA. If  you don’t cover up or slather on sunscreen, and you do get a sunburn, my How To: Treat a Sunburn post is your survival guide. Remember, the only safe tan is one that comes from a bottle.  Protect [...]

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