We all love summer. It’s the only time of the year that we get to feed our bodies with a sufficient amount of vitamin D. Unfortunately, it is also the time that our skins are more prone to sunburn.
Good news? You can use aloe vera for sunburn. The thick, succulent leaves of an aloe vera plant have been found to contain impressive anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and heal a stinging, sunburned skin.
But ‘prevention is better than cure’, they say, and therefore, it is always wise to wear sunscreen and sun-protective clothing when heading out in the sun. This will keep your skin shielded from the harmful UV rays that irritate the skin and cause burns.
So, does aloe vera help sunburn? Yes, it does. But it just won’t protect you from it. Read on to find out how you can use aloe vera for sunburn.
What Causes Sunburn?
Sunburn occurs when you get too much exposure to the UV rays emitted by the sun or artificial sources like sunlamps.
Hanging out at the beach, pool, or in the park in scorching weather for an extended period will give you a suntan. Usually, this occurs when your body naturally tries to defend itself against the damaging UV radiation. It produces melanin, a pigmentation that absorbs UV rays and dissipates them as heat. When too much melanin is produced, a toxic reaction occurs, causing sunburn.
Sunburn will be characterized by redness, itching, pain, and skin that feels warm to the touch. Intense, repeated exposure to ultraviolet rays puts you at risk of extreme skin damage and certain diseases like melanoma. You may also end up with permanent rough spots, dark spots, and wrinkles.
Luckily, simple home remedies like aloe vera can be used to relieve sunburn. But how exactly does aloe vera help sunburn, you may ask?
Well, experts argue that aloe vera gel, the translucent, gooey liquid that oozes from the inside of an aloe leaf has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe sunburns and speed their healing process. Aloe vera also moisturizes the skin and prevents the peeling that results from sunburn.
How To Use Aloe Vera For Sunburn
The anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera and its ability to moisture the skin and prevent dryness are some of the reasons why many people use aloe vera for sunburn.
Applying aloe vera after sun exposure helps prevent flaking of the skin and appearance of blisters. It also aids in skin regeneration.
To effectively use aloe vera on sunburn, extract pure aloe gel from a freshly cut leaf and smear a layer of it on the burned skin. You can buy aloe vera seeds and grow a few plants in your backyard or just buy bottled aloe vera extracts from any drugstore.
If you do buy your aloe vera gel from a store, however, make sure the label clearly states ‘pure aloe vera’.
Some manufacturers add water and harmful preservatives, colors, and thickeners, to the gel, which could lower its effectiveness in healing your skin. Aloe vera will work best when it is 100% pure.
Once you have obtained your aloe vera, you can put it in a refrigerator for a few minutes before application to instantly cool the skin. If you have sunburned your skin, apply 3 to 4 times a day to the affected area. But if the burn is severe, consider seeing a doctor before using aloe vera.
In What Forms Can You Use Aloe Vera For Sunburn?
There are several ways through which you can use aloe vera to treat sunburn. These include:
1. Fresh From The Plant
If you have an aloe plant at home, you can make aloe vera gel in the comfort of your kitchen by simply breaking off a leaf of the plant. A viscous liquid will emerge from the inside. You can collect it in a small bowl or just bring the leaf to the skin and directly apply the gel to the sunburned area.
2. Commercially Extracted Gel
If you don’t have access to an aloe vera plant, you can use off-the-shelf aloe vera gels. These, as we mentioned, must be pure aloe vera, or with very mild additives. Apply directly to the burn as instructed on the bottle.
3. Aloe Vera Lotions
There are many brands of aloe vera lotions available on the market today, all with a certain amount of aloe vera. Go for products with the highest amount of aloe vera, preferably, a concentration of 80% and above. Avoid those with additives like perfumes, colors, and strong preservatives.
Experts have found that a percentage lower than 80 will not be effective on sunburns, and therefore recommend sticking with the pure gel.
4. Oral Consumption
Some people ingest aloe vera by sucking the raw gel directly from the leaf, while others make aloe vera juice and drink a small quantity of it daily. While this may offer myriad benefits to the inside of your body, it won’t calm the pain and inflammation caused by sunburn. The surest and most effective way to use aloe vera for sunburn would be to apply the raw gel to your skin.
If you decide to consume aloe vera, be sure to wash the skin thoroughly and remove all the latex. Aloe vera latex can cause serious side effects on your body.
Avoid ingesting gels or lotions sold as skincare products. These are not intended to be used orally and may contain ingredients that are not safe to consume.
What Are The Risks Of Using Aloe Vera For Sunburn?
Used topically, aloe vera has been found safe for sunburns. However, people who are allergic to tulips, onions, and garlic could also be allergic to aloe vera.
If you have sensitive skin or have not used aloe vera before, it would be best to do a spot test on a small, healthy area of the skin to see if you will react. If you experience inflammation, pain, swelling, or any other form of an allergic reaction, do not use aloe vera on the sunburned area.
Q: How Do You Use Aloe Vera For Sunburn?
To use aloe vera for sunburn, just crack open a fresh leaf of an aloe vera plant and squeeze out the gel. Then apply it directly to the sunburned skin. If you don’t have a plant at home, buy bottled aloe vera gel and smear a thin layer to the affected areas.
Q: Is It Better To Put Aloe Or Lotion On Sunburn?
It is better to use aloe vera than lotions for sunburn. However, how effective your aloe vera will be will depend on how pure it is. For sunburn, in particular, experts recommend 100% purity.
Most lotions come with additives like perfumes and preservatives, which may lower the efficacy of the aloe vera concentration in them. Therefore, they may not be the best treatment option for sunburn.
Q: How Often Should You Apply Aloe To Sunburn?
If your case is mild, you should apply aloe vera to the sunburn 3 to 4 times a day. Severe cases will require reapplication every 2 hours.
Q: Can We Go Out In The Sun After Applying Aloe Vera?
Yes, we can. However, you will need to add a layer of sunscreen on top of the aloe vera layer to keep ultraviolet rays at bay. This will help avoid further burns and inflammation. It will also prevent irritating the existing burns.
Q: How Long Will It Take Aloe Vera To Heal Sunburn?
The amount of time aloe vera takes to heal sunburn will depend on the severity of the burn. Mild to moderate burns will take about 5 to 7 days to heal. Application of aloe vera has been found to reduce the healing period for up to 2 or 3 days. Some people have even reported healing after 24 hours.
Severe sunburns can take up to 14 days to heal on their own and about 10 days when using aloe vera. Such cases sometimes require medical attention.
Q: Does Aloe Vera Make Sunburn Go Away Faster?
Yes, it does. The anti-inflammatory effects of aloe vera have been observed to speed up the healing of sunburn almost up to 2 times faster. But again, as mentioned above, this will depend on how serious the burn is. The mild burns will go away much faster than extreme ones.
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Hopefully, this post helps answer the ever asked ‘does aloe vera help sunburn?’ question. The gel obtained from an aloe plant can help relieve pain and inflammation resulting from sunburn and accelerate the healing process.
But it is also a good idea to put on some sun protection when spending time in the sun to prevent further sunburns. If the redness and pain take longer than usual to go away or is accompanied by swelling or blisters, see a doctor right away.
More Aloe Vera Post:
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- Can You Eat Aloe Vera
- Aloe Vera For Eczema
- Aloe Vera For Acne Scars
- Aloe Vera For Skin Whitening
- Aloe Vera Benefits For Men
- Aloe Vera For Dandruff
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- Applying After-sun Creams On Sunburned Skin, independent.co.uk