You might have experienced sunburn before. Moreover, maybe this bad luck happens to you every summer. Here’s what to do when this happens.
The sun is sometimes insidious. First it tricks us into spending time outside, then it gives us burns.
Then we suffer because our skin burns, itches, hurts, and we can’t sleep. But hey, it’s worth a little effort for a perfect complexion, isn’t it?
Yes, you know it all – you shouldn’t have spent so much time exposed to the sun, but you were taken by beautiful moments and now there is no going back. All you have to do is deal with the consequences, such as redness from the sun.
It’s just redness and it’s not so terrible, but there is also that burning sensation that prevents you from lying down or sitting, then itching, blisters and similar symptoms. And the perfect complexion we were after becomes… well, at least, reddish and patterned.
If this is a regular occurrence for you, do you know why it happens to you?
Are you trying to get tanned the right way or are you making a lot of mistakes?
Here’s what causes sunburn
The old saying that one should not hide from the sun in order to exist, with huge ozone holes in the Earth’s layer, is completely losing its meaning today. In the summer, even doctors recommend us to get out of the sun.
Yes, it gives us light, life, vitamin D, colors and three types of ultraviolet rays:
And while UVC rays are not something you should think about because they do not reach the Earth’s surface, and therefore not even your skin, UVA and UVB rays do reach us and you will certainly feel and see it after a long stay in the sun.
Not only do the sun’s rays reach the surface of your skin, but they also have the ability to penetrate deep and complicate the process. These complications range from skin aging to skin cancer.
Although you can’t miss the symptoms of sunburn, let’s mention some of them, for those lucky ones who haven’t experienced them yet or aren’t sure what it is and are still persistently exposing their skin to irritation:
- redness of the skin
- burning sensation and pain
- blisters from the sun if the burn is stronger
- In some cases, headache, weakness and fever may occur, which is mostly associated with the appearance of sunstroke.
Symptoms appear after a few hours and the first thing you will notice is redness from the sun. Exactly how much time will pass by then depends on several factors such as: skin phototype, sun intensity and time spent outside. The brighter your complexion and the longer the exposure time, the higher the risk of sunburn.
Even the sun that hides behind occasional, light clouds can harm you because the clouds let through up to 80% of the sun’s rays.
Sunburns are not only reserved for summer time. You can also get them in the winter, and the snow as a reflective surface will help that a lot.
Sunburn can take several days to heal. After a while, the skin will start to heal on its own and regenerate by starting to peel. And you can help it in that process of renewal.
How to treat sunburn and help your skin
Skin has the ability to regenerate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to cure sun redness.
If you have experienced this, then you know how burnt skin can be hot to the touch, dry, burning and tightening and simply begging you to apply something on it to cool it down, relax, stop burning. Yes, your skin is just crying out for your attention that way.
Start treating sunburn by giving your skin what it needs:
- Cool the skin. Do you think that walking into the refrigerator to cool your skin would please you the most? Well, you don’t have to apply such drastic methods, but get into a pool for a short time, into the sea or some other source of refreshment that is near you, and then get out of the sun and cover your skin. If you are at home, take a bath or shower, and you can also apply cold compresses. Avoid soaps and shower creams as they further irritate the skin. If you need them, the best choice is some mild natural cosmetics.
- Maintain skin moisture. Avoid fatty oil-based products, such as St. John’s wort oil, which is often recommended. It is good and healing, but when such large areas are involved, it can make things even worse and actually keep the heat under the skin. Instead, choose products that allow your skin to breathe.
- Hydrate your body and drink enough water. Moisture is not only needed by your skin. All this swelling and blisters on the skin are a consequence of pulling a lot of water to its surface. Get enough water into your body to replenish that liquid and help your body recover. This does not necessarily mean that you drink only water. The right choice of food can help you hydrate, especially one that contains a lot of water. So, get down to watermelons, cucumbers, melons and other fruits and vegetables full of liquid.
- Relieve pain. Take Aspirin, ibuprofen or some other painkiller if the burns cause you great discomfort.
- Do not puncture blisters. This increases the chances of creating an infection on the skin and making things more uncomfortable than they already are. Sun blisters are full of serum, and this is one of the ways the skin is protected from the excessive heat to which it has been exposed. The body will only get rid of them when it is ready for it.
- Avoid tight clothes. Although it is advisable to cover burns when going out, tight clothes are not the best way to do this. Choose some light and natural materials that will not further irritate already irritated skin. Imagine a hot desert landscape in your head and think whether you have seen people in synthetic tight T-shirts and swimsuits in those scenes?
In this way, you will help your skin to cool down, and you can carry out additional treatment with some natural remedies.
Natural treatment of sunburn
There are various creams and balms for burns, and they will help whether you are sunburned or have burns from some other heat source. You can also resort to some natural, home remedies.
What to put on the sunburn?
All you need to do is take gauze and wrap dry oatmeal in it. Then soak it in cold water and squeeze it into a bowl. Remove the oatmeal from gauze, and use water and gauze as a coating against sunburn.
Milk. This is one of those “medicines” that you mostly have at home, or you can get them quickly at the nearest store.
Soak the gauze in cold milk. It should not be icy, but it should be pleasantly cold. Put a compress with milk where the redness from the sun hurts and tightens. Milk both hydrates and softens the skin, and that’s exactly what you need at that moment.
Yogurt against skin burns. Yogurt and sour milk work in the same way that milk works. Here you should make sure that it is pure yogurt, without additives, artificial colors and flavors.
Baking soda may be your choice in the fight against sunburn. Mix it with a little water and make a paste that will be applied to the painful surface.
Tea bags are great if your eyelids are burnt. Tannin relieves ailments. Of course, tea bags should not be hot.
Apple cider vinegar against sunburn also alleviates the problems caused by sun redness. Pour it into a spray bottle and spray on the skin.
Aloe vera is great for skin care because it hydrates and cools inflamed skin. The products with mint extract are also great.
Cucumber will be great, both as a coating and helping on the inside to regain lost liquid. For the outer coating, you need to put the cucumbers into a blender, make a paste and put it on the inflamed area. This is a great remedy against face redness.
Potatoes can help get rid of skin discomfort. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a try. You don’t have to peel or cook it. Just wash it well and grate it, and you can put it in a blender. The key ingredient here is starch, which draws heat from the skin.
Dip gauze in blended potatoes or apply grated potatoes on the skin and cover with gauze. If the burnt area is smaller, simply cut the potato rings and arrange them on the sore spot.
These are some safe and natural ways to solve a problem when it occurs.
And how to avoid all this?
Prevention is better than treatment!
This is another folk saying that is certainly well known to you. Unlike the one mentioned above, this one is always current and valid.
Sun redness is a temporary summer pain, but scientists claim that the more times you burn, the higher your chances of getting skin cancer. That is why the best medicine is prevention.
How to prevent sunburn?
- Use sunscreen creams with the appropriate SPF factor. It is clear that you certainly did not go out in the sun with the intention to get redness and burns on the skin, but to get a perfect and dark complexion. However, without protection, you could not expect anything else. Sunbathe carefully.
- Avoid going out in the sun between 11 am and 4 pm when the radiation is strongest, especially if you have sensitive skin. Are you on vacation and don’t want to spend time in a room or apartment? It’s okay to be outside, but at least be in the shade.
- Protect yourself with clothes and accessories. Wear sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, light thin and wide clothes, long sleeves and legs, bright colors and natural materials.
- Check your medication if you are using any therapy, and ask your doctor if these medications are sensitive to the sun. Some antibiotics, creams, pills, and preparations against fungal diseases are photosensitive, which means that you will burn in the sun more than usual.
When should you see a doctor?
You can usually treat sunburn yourself at home, but sometimes things can get out of hand and a home-made balm is not enough. Then you need expert advice.
Be sure to see your doctor if you have the following symptoms, which indicate sunburn:
- High body temperature (higher than 38 degrees C / 100 degrees F)
- Severe pain and swelling of the skin
- Shivering and dizziness
- If you are dehydrated – you have a dry mouth, you are tired, you rarely urinate
- If sun blisters cover a large area of your skin (more than 20%)
Even if you do not have these symptoms, see your doctor if you are not sure what to do. And yes, expect reviews and lectures on the dangers of sun exposure!
Sunburns are not so abrupt nor drastic at first glance as those caused by fire or some other, stronger source of heat. This does not make them less dangerous, nor are they something you should suffer for the sake of beauty.
The consequences are not just transient blisters, nor is it a path to good bronze complexion. Be careful with your skin because it is the largest organ on our body.
Don’t forget, the sun is insidious – it lures you out and then burns you, and its UV rays can get under your skin and leave permanent marks.