The sun’s shining and you’re eager to spend those warm days soaking up the sun on a tropical paradise somewhere. One thing you’re not looking forward to, though, is returning to school or work sporting that ‘lobster look’ which comes with too much and unprotected exposure from the sun. Yes, it often happens that we get a little careless with the sunscreen from time to time, especially when we’re having a blast surfing the waves or lying in that brand new beach blanket we just bought. Needless to say, this little bit of negligence puts us at risk of a sunburn, complete with all those bright red peeling skin and icky-looking blisters. If you failed to practice safe sunning and are now feeling the burn, you’re probably looking for ways on how to make a sunburn go away faster. Hence, we have here a list of items that can do just that and more.
Aloe Vera Creams/Gel
Aloe vera has always been a popular remedy for a bad sunburn. Countless of research has shown that this herbal plant can aid the skin in healing from the effects of sunburn and several other skin problems. In addition, aloe vera has moisturizing properties which can help to avoid or minimize the peeling that normally comes with sun damage.
If you happen to have an aloe vera plant at home, you can take a stalk, slice it open and dab the sap onto your sun damaged skin. Otherwise, you can head to your nearest pharmacy or favorite skin care shop and grab a bottle of aloe vera cream or gel. Some experts recommend putting the aloe vera in the fridge for a couple of minutes first before applying it onto your skin. Accordingly, the cooled aloe vera feels much more soothing to the skin and helps with the itching and stinging.
Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda is a household name when it comes to treating various skin problems, sunburns included. Also known as sodium bicarbonate, this crystalline white powder has certain properties that make it suitable for treating this particular problem.
For one, its alkaline property can help soothe the sunburned skin and relieve the burning and itching sensations. Second, its antiseptic properties play a role in healing the skin, keeping it cooled and retaining its moisture. Lastly, baking soda is said to help in balancing the pH levels in the skin which contributes much to speeding up the skin’s healing process.
If you’re planning to use baking soda to treat your sunburn, here’s one way of doing it.
First, clean the affected area with cold, clean water and pat it dry. Second, mix two tablespoons of baking soda with water until you get a paste-like consistency. When the mixture is ready, dip a cotton ball into the mixture and gently dab it onto your skin and leave it there for about ten minutes. Finally, rinse your skin with cool water and let it air dry.
Aside from being a well-known remedy for skin rashes, oatmeal can also be used to alleviate the pains and pangs of sunburns. In fact, many skin care products you see in beauty and cosmetic stores contain oatmeal in them. You’ve probably heard of them before: colloidal oatmeal (like those found in over-the-counter skin protectants like oatmeal bath products) and avena sativa (those found in some lotions and facial masks). If you’re not into using these products, you can use ordinary oatmeal instead. They’re said to work just as well as their processed cousins.
Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe a sunburned skin. It can also help in normalizing your skin’s pH levels, which in turn helps to relieve that itchy and uncomfortable feeling. Oatmeal baths are also said to help soften and moisturize your skin, helping to lock in the moisture and protect your skin from exterior irritants.
When making an oatmeal bath, you can use colloidal oatmeal or you can ground ordinary oatmeal using a pulse blender. Simply stir the powder into your bath and soak yourself for ten to fifteen minutes and pat yourself dry afterwards.
Milk Cold Compress
Sometimes, you don’t need to look far when you’re searching for a quick cure to your sunburned skin. In fact, one remedy might just be hiding inside your fridge.
Milk baths have always been a popular skin care regimen, and if you have a carton of milk in the fridge, then you can use this to treat your sun damaged skin. A cold compress of milk can help to soothe and heal an inflamed skin, thanks to the various vitamins and minerals contained in this dairy product.
The vitamins found in milk can aid in the faster recovery of the skin, while the lactic acid stimulates the skin and helps in getting rid of dead skin cells. On the other hand, the protein contents will help with the pain and discomfort while the fat helps to lock in the moisture in the cells to keep the skin hydrated.
To make a milk cold compress, all you need to do is pour some milk in a bowl, drop in a towel and leave them in the fridge for a few minutes. Afterwards, take out the cooled milk and towel and dab them onto your skin. Avoid rubbing the towel or using too much pressure as this can irritate your already damaged skin.
Here’s a sweet relief for sunburn, and just like milk, you probably have in your fridge (you may even have a bottle of it in your beach cooler along with your mayonnaise).
With regard to sunburn, honey works in the same way as aloe vera. It has antibiotic properties and contains enzymes that helps in repairing damaged skin. It is also a natural humectant which draws moisture to the skin and traps it there to keep it hydrated and reduce the burning sensation.
It seems that tea is not only good for the body when ingested since studies have shown that it can help with external ailments, too, such as sunburn. Tea contains catechin, a compound which can help protect the skin from further damage from the sun. It also has tannic acid which can help soothe that stinging pain. The tannins found in tea are also said to help reduce the inflammation.
To use tea for treating your sunburned skin, simply put at least three tea bags in warm water, then dab the tea bags directly onto the burns. Continue doing this until the water cools, after which you can pour it all over your skin. Don’t wash it off immediately though. Instead, let it air dry so it can work its magic.
Cucumber has long been a part of many women’s beauty regimen, so it should come as no surprise that it’s also one of the better solutions to many skin problems, even sunburn. Cucumbers have natural antioxidant and analgesic or pain-relieving properties which provides a soothing relief for the peeling that comes after sunburn. To use, simply mash a couple of cucumbers in the blender and put it in the fridge for a few minutes. Once it’s cooled, apply the mashed cucumber directly onto the burned area of the skin.
If you’ve tried all of the above remedies and still feel like you’re not doing enough, you may consider using a stronger and much potent stuff like hydrocortisone creams. There are over-the-counter anti-itch creams that contain 1% hydrocortisone which, at these levels, are generally safe to use. These creams can help to reduce inflammation and temporarily ease the pain.
When using hydrocortisone creams, be sure to follow the manufacturers’ directions. Once your skin issue is solved, discontinue using the product as overuse may lead to other skin problems.
Sunburn Treatment Do’s and Don’ts
To further hasten the healing process, take note of these sunburn treatment do’s and don’ts.
Do Take a Cold Shower
If you’re not used to taking cold showers, this may well be the time to start thinking about one. This is because hot showers, steam baths or a spas will only make matters worse for your sun-damaged skin by trapping excessive heat in it. Besides, a cool shower will feel much more pleasant given the circumstances.
Don’t Rub Your Skin Dry
That itchy feeling may leave you wanting to attack your skin with a towel. Well, don’t. Instead, gently pat your skin dry using a fresh, clean towel. Rubbing will only irritate your skin further.
Don’t Re-expose Sunburnt Skin
After getting a sunburn, you’ll want to avoid exposing your sun-damaged skin to the sun for the meantime. And no, applying a sunscreen now won’t do anything to reverse the effects of sunburn and will not do you any good should you decide to go out. Stay at home for the next couple of days until the redness, flaking and blisters have healed before going under the sun again. If you must go out, wear a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella to shade yourself from the sun (and no, it doesn’t have to be one of those really big beach umbrellas).
Do Avoid Tight Clothing
If you’re suffering from sunburn, consider putting away those skinny jeans and body-hugging tops for now because you need to give your skin some room to breathe. After the initial hours after a burn, your body is trying to heal itself by increasing blood flow to the sun-damaged area, and wearing tight clothing hinders this process. Also, a sunburned skin is sensitive to tactile contacts which will aggravate the inflammation and cause swelling and blisters.
Don’t Scratch or Peel Your Skin
It can be really tempting to do so, but scratching at and peeling off your burned skin will only make it more difficult for your skin to heal. Instead, let the flaking skin fall off naturally. Similarly, your skin is too sensitive during this time to be exposed to any sort of exfoliating products that contain glycolic acid or salicylic acid so you’ll want to avoid them at all costs.
Do Apply a Moisturizer
One of the most important things to remember when dealing with sunburn is that you need to keep your skin hydrated, which means regularly applying moisturizer to the affected areas. As much as possible, use a moisturizer made specifically for ‘sensitive skin’ to keep skin irritation to a minimum. This will improve the appearance of the sunburn and help the skin to exfoliate naturally and evenly.
Don’t Use Oil-based Products
We said earlier that you need to apply moisturizer onto your sunburned skin in order to help it heal faster, which is true. However, you’ll want to avoid using oil-based moisturizers and products since these will actually trap the heat in the skin, increasing the level of burn and subsequent damage.
Do Stay Hydrated
One effect of sunburn is that it draws fluid towards the skin and away from the rest of the body, which in turn can lead to dehydration. Thus, you need to drink lots of water in the first few hours after the initial burn and several days afterwards. In fact, you should be drinking plenty of water everyday as per doctor’s recommendations, whether you have sunburn or not. Just make sure that you avoid sugary drinks and alcohol which will dehydrate you even further.
Globo Surf Overview
The best way to deal with sunburn is to avoid it completely so you don’t have to go about looking for ways on how to make a sunburn go away faster. This means using sunscreen and wearing sun-protective clothing while you’re out having fun under the sun. However, if you already have the ‘burn’ then the tips above should be of help. Also, note that these treatments are meant to help with minor and moderately severe cases of sunburns. If you notice that these treatments aren’t working and that your skin doesn’t appear to be healing well, consider seeing your dermatologist for help.
- 11 Natural Cures for Sunburn Relief, Prevention