Ouch! Bright red skin that’s tender to the touch: You stayed in the sun too long, and you’ve got sunburn. It’s summer time, and your sun exposure time has lengthened; it happens to the best of us. Don’t make a habit of it, though. While you’re enjoying the warm weather, or you’re at the beach or pool, you’re going to have to be careful or you’ll wind up looking like a lobster. Sunburn can be very painful.
The best way to avoid sunburn, of course, is to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF. Reapply after you swim or if you’re perspiring excessively. If you’re already burned, however, there are some things you can do to soothe your skin and quiet your pain.
Sunburn can cause a mild fever and a headache. Lie down in a cool, quiet room to get the rid of the headache. Your head might actually be hurting because you’re dehydrated, so drink plenty of water. This will help your skin heal itself, as well.
If you have blisters, avoid wearing close fitting clothing or shoes that rub against them. Try not to irritate the blisters while they’re healing, and for heaven’s sake, don’t pop them. You don’t have to cover them unless they’re rubbing against your clothing and causing you pain. If you do bandage them, use a large bandage and tape around the edges, far away from any blisters.
Don’t take hot baths or showers; lukewarm works best and will soothe your sunburn. Go as cool as you can, but don’t use all cold water. You’ll feel worse when your teeth are chattering from the cold, not better. Lukewarm water is best. It will take the heat out of your sunburn and make you feel better, I promise.
Chamomile compresses work well for the swelling and pain of mild sunburn. Just put a few drops of chamomile extract into icy cold water and dip a washcloth in it. Hold gently against the most painful parts of your sunburn and repeat as needed.
Aloe gel is antibacterial and helps in healing. They use it in hospitals on burn patients. Spread it gently over your sunburn, but be careful of your clothing. While it won’t stain, it is very sticky.
There is nothing you can do to stop your skin from peeling after a sunburn. You’re just going to have to go around looking like you’re molting for a while. It is part of the healing process. A good quality moisturizing body lotion may help relieve the itching.
The best advice for sunburn is, of course, not to get one. We’ve all done it at one time or the other. I hope these tips help ease your sunburn pain. If you have any tips or tricks, let me know on twitter, facebook, or leave me a message here on the blog.