Balmy weather, endless time spent at the beach – this can only mean one thing: summer. Ah, yes. The time of year where the sun shines bright, where we are encouraged to soak up good-for-you vitamin D. But, as much as we are eager to venture outside, we need to remember increased sun exposure comes with its own set of risks.
It doesn’t require a lot of effort to keep your skin protected – sunscreen, shade, covering up – can reduce the likelihood of a sunburn.
But, listen, I get it. Sometimes it’s an afterthought, or we overlook the consequences of getting too much sun because we’re preoccupied with planning our upcoming day. It happens. If you think you’ve overdone it with your time out in the sun, then listen up. Know what you’re up against and understand that there are simple options available to treat flared-up skin.
What Is a Sunburn, and How Do You Get It?
A sunburn is an inflammatory skin reaction caused by ultraviolet radiation (UV). If you guessed UV radiation came from the sun, then you are, in fact, correct; you’re exposed to this all the time, irrespective of being indoors or outdoors. Remember how we’re always told to avoid the sun during certain times of the day in the summer? That’s because UV strength varies throughout the year, but reaches maximum force during the summer months, posing a massive risk to unprotected skin.
According to Mayo Clinic, skin can become red, painful, and feel hot when touched. Early signs of a sunburn can potentially be detected just a few hours after exposure, which is why it’s essential to be mindful of your skin’s condition, particularly if you feel or notice any changes to your skin.
You may think that this is a one-time effect. And while that may be true if you’re someone who stays vigilant around protecting your skin, continuous sun exposure can increase your risk of other conditions like dark spots, wrinkles or worse, melanoma– a type of skin cancer.
How to Safely Treat Sunburn Fast:
The first thing you should do before proceeding with any form of treatment is to head indoors, away from the sun. Your body’s natural healing response will kick in and begin to repair the damaged skin. Depending on how severe your burn is, it may take days to heal, which is why these options are worth noting and can help alleviate any discomfort or pain right away.
1. Apply Aloe to the Skin
Aloe vera is known for its incredible skin-soothing properties and is a must for treating heat-related injuries. In fact, studies suggest it may be an effective solution for healing first and second-degree burns. No surprise there.
To get the maximum benefits aloe vera has to offer, it’s best to go straight to the source (if you can) and extract the gel directly from the plant, applying it onto the burned skin. Check out this tutorial on how to get started. If this isn’t an option, you can always purchase the gel from your local health food store. Just make sure to read the label (the fewer additives, the better) and ensure it has a high concentration of aloe present.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
What’s worse than a sunburn? Sunburn and dehydration. The best way to prevent this dangerous duo is to drink plenty of water.
When you’re stuck with a bad sunburn, the delicate balance of electrolytes in your body can become disrupted. Fluid is taken away from other parts of your body and moved towards the skin’s surface, making it that much more essential to maintain sufficient levels of hydration.
Avoid guzzling water in one go; instead, frequently sip on it throughout the day. But make it fun! Feel free to add flavor by infusing fruit and herbs into your water. A no-fail approach is to combine frozen blackberries and mint, for a classic refreshing taste. Or, check out this site for some creative recipes to consider testing out.
3. Resist Popping Any Blisters, Let Them Heal Naturally
Whatever you do, avoid popping any blisters that may form. It might be tempting to do so, but it can do more harm than good. One of the actions your body may undertake to heal your skin and protect it from becoming infected is to form blisters. Yes, you heard that right. Blisters form to guard your skin from further damage, so it’s best not to mess with it. Let them heal naturally.
If you’re still concerned, you can always speak to a medical professional; this is especially important if you notice the blisters are covering a large portion of your skin or you begin developing other conditions, like chills or fever.
4. Avoid the Sun at All Costs
One of the most natural things you can do to promote healing and avoid further damage to your sensitive skin is to avoid the sun. Try to stay indoors as much as possible, and if you need to go outside, wear proper clothing that will cover up the damaged area. Sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and loads of sunscreen slathered all over your skin are all adequate measures to include in your routine.
5. Keep Your Skin Cool
Applying cold water onto the skin can help relieve pain, redness, or irritation. There are a few simple ways you can do this at home:
- Make a cold compress by using a clean, damp washcloth and gently apply to the sunburned area – do this frequently.
- Take a cool bath or shower. While your skin is still damp, it’s good to use a moisturizing lotion (choose one that has clean ingredients and is safe for sensitive skin) to prevent dryness and ensure your body’s surface remains moisturized throughout the healing process.
- Purchase a soothing hydrating mist, like this one made from Bioderma. I love that the mist is multi-purposeful (quick tip: makes for an AMAZING setting spray). What’s most important, though, is that it can provide instant relief to stressed-out skin due to healing minerals found in its formulation. Plus, with its budget-friendly price point, it makes the purchase all the more worthwhile.
The content provided in this article is for general information purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor used as a medical diagnosis or treatment protocol. PREIM BEAUTY INC. (“PREIM”) is not involved in the provision or rendering of medical advice or services. As health and wellness research continues to advance, we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of any information presented on PREIM. You understand and agree that PREIM will not be held liable for any claim, loss, or damage connected with the use of our website and its contents.