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Sunburns can be tricky to avoid. After a long day in the sun, you can still end up with painful, lobster red sunburn despite your best efforts to protect your skin with sunscreen.
Most of the time, sunburns are mild first-degree burns on your outer layer of skin that turn red. With second-degree sunburns, the more severe type, your skin is red, painful and blistering. Fortunately, these two types of sunburns can be treated at home but if you are experiencing more serious problems, seek professional medical help.
Typically, sunburn symptoms continue to worsen during the first 24 to 36 hours after the sunburn. There are times where your sunburn does not show up until hours after you’ve gone back indoors or left the beach.
After 3 to 5 days, sunburns will begin to go away. However, it may take 3 to 6 months for your skin to fully repair and return to normal.
Here are some natural remedies for treating sunburns:
Your skin is inflamed after being sunburnt. Soak a towel or t-shirt in either cold water from the faucet or iced water and slip it on or lay it over the burn. Repeat every few minutes and apply several times a day for a total of 10 to 15 minutes each time. Cold compresses will cool down your inflamed skin and help reduce the swelling. Besides just cold water, you can use common kitchen foods too. Believe it or not, oatmeal is very effective. Wrap dry oatmeal in a cloth and run water through it. Discard the oatmeal and cold compress in the liquid. Also, cold compressing with a combination of 1 cup of fat-free milk with 4 cups of iced water works too.
Avoid soapy water and bubble baths. Soap will strip out moisture from your skin and further dry and irritate your burned skin. If you must use soap, use a mild brand and rinse if off very well. If you are really hurting and wish to take a bath, try an oatmeal bath or baking soda bath. Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment is made from oatmeal. Alternatively, you can grid a cup of oatmeal and sprinkle it into a tub of cool water. Swish the bath water around until it becomes milky. Soak yourself for at least 20 minutes and gently pat yourself dry with a soft towel. If you don’t have oatmeal, sprinkly baking soda into your cool bath, soak for 20 minutes, and then let the solution dry on your skin. Baking soda is nontoxic and will soothe your pain.
Do Not Pop Your Blisters
If you get a blister, you have a more severe case of sunburn. Although very tempting, it is best not to pop your blister. A blister is a bubble under the skin that is usually filled with fluid and form to protect the skin. Popping a blister can lead to an infection and even more irritation and pain.
Your skin loses much moisture from a sunburn and becomes very dry. Thus, it is crucial to aid in the repair process by frequently applying moisturizing cream or lotion. Be sure to not apply so much that your skin cannot breathe. Also apply aloe vera, a natural soothing, anti-inflammatory gel that has been used for thousand of years to treat wounds and burns. For added relief, cool your lotion of aloe vera in the refrigerator before applying to your skin. Hydrate Your skin and body has lost a lot of essential fluids and you may now have a fever or headache. Often times, these are signs of dehydration. Drink plenty of water and eat fruit to combat dehydration. Watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe
Take It Easy
Stay indoors, avoid the sun, and give your skin time to repair. Wise up and be more sensitive about your sun exposure and protect yourself with sunscreen, hats, and clothing.
Although the FDA says there isn’t enough evidence to suggest products containing Vitamin A or its derivatives are harmful, Canadian health authorities and groups such as the EWG (Environmental Working Group) are concerned that the additives increase sun sensitivity. In particular, they have proposed sunscreens containing retinyl palmitate, a Vitamin A derivative, to carry a warning saying they can increase the possibility of sunburn for up to a week.
Furthermore, Canadian health authorities go on to say to “please limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterwards.”The sunscreen industry adds Vitamin A to beach and sport sunscreens, daily face sunscreens, and SPF-rate makeup products and lip balms. Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant that is believed to slow skin aging and studies of Vitamin A’s carcinogenic properties raised the possibility that is may speed the growth of tumors on the skin when exposed to sunlight.
Despite evidence that Vitamin A can trigger carcinogenic activity, the FDA has delay taking action on restricting retinly palmitate in sunscreens in favor of ordering additional studies. Thus, regulatory action may be postponed indefinitely.
Be safer than sorry - take EWG’s advice and “avoid sunscreen and skin products with retinyl palmitate until the industry can prove it is safe for sun-exposed skin.”