How to Get Rid of Sunburns
Looking in the mirror, many of us are left with skin that tells the story of a well-spent summer or outdoor escapade. Whether it’s the red, itchy skin on your shoulder or bruises on your knee from a trekking expedition, these sunburns are hard to be ignored.
Top remedies to get rid of sunburns
This itchy, red, swollen, and painful skin called sunburn is a result of overexposure to the sun.
The harmful ultra violet (UV) rays of the sun and artificial sources like sunlamps can cause sever sunburn.
Your skin is extremely sensitive to UV rays of the sun and other light sources. When you lie out in sun, hoping to get a golden tan, you may also get a sunburn because melanin (a pigment that determines your skin color) fails to absorb UV rays from the sun and dissipate it as heat.
When your skin gets sun-damaged, your body sends more melanin to the cells to avoid any further damage.
Long exposure to the sun can cause the alteration in your DNA resulting in severe diseases like cancer. In the United States, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer.
According to Skin Cancer Foundation, if you repeatedly get sunburnt, you are at a higher risk of getting ‘melanoma’ (skin cancer in which pigment-producing cells that give color to the skin become cancerous).
Sunscreen can be used to avoid harmful UV rays from entering your skin. However, if you witness symptoms of sunburn which appear after two hours of exposure to the sun, you can treat them to prevent any further damage to the body.
If you live in areas at high altitudes or near the equator and have light skin and red hair, you are more susceptible to sunburns that are severe and take a little longer to heal.
Before you treat your sunburns, you need to understand how severe it is.
It can be of three types:
• Mild sunburns: It causes redness and pain which can last for three-five days. If you get mild sunburns, regeneration of skin will peel off your sunburnt skin.
• Moderate sunburns: If your skin gets red and swollen, you have a moderate sunburn which is hot to even touch. It will take around a week for your sunburns to get replaced by new skin.
• Severe sunburns: If you get blisters on your skin due to overexposure to the sun, you have a severe sunburn. It will take two weeks for your skin to get healed completely. This type of sunburn may have serious symptoms like a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, chills, severe pain, and dehydration. Visit a doctor to avoid worsening the situation.
You cannot depend upon your sunscreen as your sole survivor to beat the heat while stepping out in the sun.
However, you can protect yourself from those harmful UV rays by using things that are available at your home.
1. Cold Compress
It helps to reduce swelling and soothes the pain. Place a cold compress on the sunburned skin or where you feel itchy to get some relief.
If you don’t have it, you can make your own DIY cold compress. Take a hand towel and dip it in cold water and apply it to the affected areas for 10 minutes.
It’s tea time for sunburn relief. Yes, you can use tea to get rid of sunburns. Tea has theobromine, tannic acid, and catechins that remove heat from sunburn and prevents and repair skin damage.
Don’t throw your tea bags, instead use them if you have itchy and sunburned eyes. Apply teabags soaked in cold water to your eyelids to reduce inflammation.
Or you can cool your freshly brewed tea and apply it to the sunburned skin using a clean cloth. This will balance the pH of your skin. You can also put mint leaves in your tea to get a cooling effect.
3. Aloe Vera
It is often considered as the ‘burn plant’ because of its healing properties. The gel or sap of aloe vera has healthy plant compounds, antioxidants, and antibacterial properties which heals the skin. You can use aloe vera to treat sunburn, red and itchy skin.
Aloe with cucumber
Aloe and cucumber, both have skin hydrating properties that heals the skin. You can apply this paste daily to get clear skin. Steps to prepare:
a. Cut a cucumber into small pieces, and blend it to get a paste.
b. Now, cut aloe vera leaf into two halves. Scoop the juice or sap using a spoon.
c. Mix aloe sap with cucumber paste.
d. Apply it on the sunburned area or anywhere. Leave it for 20 minutes to dry.
e. You use this process daily to get a glow on your skin.
DIY Aloe Cream
You can easily prepare a DIY aloe cream instead of buying those costly beauty products that harm your skin. Things you’ll need:
a. Baking soda: 3 teaspoons
b. Aloe vera gel: 1 teaspoon
c. Water: 2 teaspoons
d. Witch hazel: 1 tablespoon
e. Peppermint oil: 1 teaspoon
f. Mint leaves: ½ cup
g. Airtight container
Steps to prepare:
a. Add aloe vera gel, water and, witch hazel in a bowl.
b. Stir well and leave it for 2 hours.
c. Now add peppermint oil, mint leaves and, baking soda. Mix them well.
d. Keep this in an air-tight container in a refrigerator.
e. Use it regularly to heal sunburns and remove tan.
To give a glowing effect to your tired skin, use milk masks. Milk has fats and protein, plus, its pH has a soothing anti-inflammatory effect on your skin which aids healing and reduces swelling.
You can directly apply some cold milk on your sunburn. This will help to build up a protein layer on the surface of the sunburned skin. Things you’ll need:
a. Milk: ½ cup
b. Turmeric: just a pinch of it.
Steps to prepare:
a. Add a pinch of turmeric in milk. Mix it well.
b. Apply it on your sunburned skin.
c. Leave it to get dry naturally.
d. Wash off with clean water
A day at the beach may be fun until you get home and see your sunburned skin in the mirror. However, you can treat your skin by running to your kitchen and grabbing oatmeal which is not only beneficial for your health but also for your skin.
Oats have anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory property which contain avenanthramides. This helps to soothe your itchy, irritated and sun burnt skin.
Oatmeal and milk
This paste helps to regain your natural skin by facilitating the growth of new skin cells. Things you’ll need:
a. Oatmeal: 1/2 cup
b. Milk: ½ cup
c. Honey: 1 tablespoon
Steps to prepare:
a. Blend oatmeal with milk and honey in a blender.
b. Apply this paste to the affected areas and leave it for 20 minutes to get dry.
c. Wash off with clean water.
1. Always use sunscreen above SPF 30, wear protective clothes and sunglasses to avoid direct exposure of skin to the sun.
2. If your sunburn has been healed, use coconut oil to moisturize your skin. Don’t use coconut oil as sunscreen because it does not provide any sun protection.
3. You can use petroleum jelly on your sunburned lips to facilitate healing.
4. Drink an adequate amount of water and juices because it helps in replacing lost body fluids. This will heal the sunburned skin.
5. Don’t put ice cubes on your sunburn because it can cause frostbite.
6. Avoid using soaps and perfumes because that will dry your already dried sunburned skin.
7. If you get blisters on your skin due to overexposure to the sun, cover them to prevent tearing.
8. Avoid exposure to the sun if you have sunburns so as to not make things get worse.
No matter the time of the year, you need to be cognizant of the sun’s harmful rays.