Summer is right around the corner and with it comes looking forward to being outdoors for every activity we can muster, and with summer comes the summer sun - which means sunburns!
I constantly preach the biggest key to great skin is sun block. Sometimes, though, sunburns do happen.
If you find yourself a little more than sun-kissed, follow this advice to relieve the discomfort.
The fastest sunburn relief can be gained with compresses dipped in any of the following substances:
- Cold water. Use either plain water from the faucet or add a few ice cubes, says Michael Schreiber, MD. Dip a cloth into the liquid and lay it over the burn. Repeat every few minutes as the cloth warms. Apply several times a day for a total of 10 to 15 minutes each.
- Aluminum acetate. If itching is intense, says Thomas Gossel, PhD, RPh, try mixing Domeboro's powder packets ($8.50; amazon.com) with water. The aluminum acetate in the powder keeps skin from getting too dry or itchy. Follow package directions.
- Witch hazel. Moisten a cloth with witch hazel, says Fredric Haberman, MD. This incredible astringent has been shown to have long-lasting anti-inflammatory relief. Apply often for temporary relief. For smaller areas, dip cotton balls into the liquid and gently wipe on.
For long-lasting care:
- Take frequent cool baths or showers to help relieve the pain. As soon as you get out of the bathtub or shower, gently pat yourself dry, but leave a little water on your skin. Then, apply a moisturizer to help trap the water in your skin. This can help ease the dryness.
- Use a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy to help soothe sunburned skin. If a particular area feels especially uncomfortable, you may want to apply a hydrocortisone cream that you can buy without a prescription. Do not treat sunburn with “-caine” products (such as benzocaine), as these may irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction.
- Consider taking aspirin or ibuprofen to help reduce any swelling, redness and discomfort.
- Drink extra water. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body. Drinking extra water when you are sunburned helps prevent dehydration.
- If your skin blisters, allow the blisters to heal. Blistering skin means you have a second-degree sunburn. You should not pop the blisters, as blisters form to help your skin heal and protect you from infection.
- Take extra care to protect sunburned skin while it heals. Wear clothing that covers your skin when outdoors. Tightly-woven fabrics work best. When you hold the fabric up to a bright light, you shouldn’t see any light coming through.
Although it may seem like a temporary condition, sunburn—a result of skin receiving too much exposure from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays—can cause long-lasting damage to the skin. This damage increases a person’s risk for getting skin cancer, making it critical to protect the skin from the sun.