Summer is here, and so is the scorching sun, ready to cause some damage. Even if sunscreen is part of your daily skincare routine, accidents can still happen. Prolonged ultraviolet light exposure, regardless of whether it is natural or artificial, causes sunburn. But how to heal sunburn fast? What helps with sunburn pain? Read on to find some of the best sunburn remedies that will help you with the swelling, redness, and stinging.
Although the rest of this article will focus on treating sunburns, I would like to emphasize that sunburn prevention is key. Always apply sunscreen to exposed areas. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, and don’t forget to re-apply every two hours if outside or if you get your skin wet. Seek shade during peak UV hours from 10 AM-4 PM. Choose UPF 50 clothing to protect your skin as well as don’t forget to wear a wide-brimmed hat.
Protect Your Burned Skin
It is important not to leave your sunburn unprotected because further exposure to UV rays will damage your skin even more. Avoid going out when it is really hot outside. If you do have to go out, seek shade, cover the sunburn with clothing, and make sure you wear sunscreen for exposed skin.
Take an Ibuprofen
If needed, taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen post sunburn for 24-48 hrs can help decrease inflammation and skin pain. Always check with your physician if this is a drug that is ok for you to take.
When you get sunburned, you can lose a lot of body water. While you are soaking up the sun, your body tries to keep itself cool by sweating, and if those fluids are not replaced, dehydration can occur. Dehydration prevents your skin from healing, while also causing fatigue, headache, and even nausea. Therefore it is essential that you drink enough water to rehydrate your body and help it recover faster.
Peeling Your Skin Can Be Tempting But Don’t
If you have a sunburn, resist the urge to peel off the skin as it heals. Although it may seem harmless, it can further damage your sunburned skin, making it more sensitive and vulnerable to infections.
Skip the Soap
At this point, you might feel like you need a warm bath to relax. However, you should avoid further heat and keep the bath cool so it can soothe the burning sensation. It is also a good idea to avoid soaps as they can dry your skin and irritate the sunburn even more.
Cool compresses can help reduce the heat on the skin as well as make you more comfortable by reducing pain. Avoid freezing cold packs as they can cause vasoconstriction and theoretically reduce blood flow to a skin that is already struggling with damage from the sunburn.
Apply Aloe Vera
Moisturizers that contain aloe vera, or even just the gel of the plant itself, can be beneficial in healing sunburns. The plant is often used to heal and hydrate the sunburned skin to decrease inflammation and help prevent any infection. Avoid heavy moisturizers as using moisturizers that are heavy in petroleum jelly can also further worsen your sunburn by trapping more heat on your skin.
Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes
Last but not least, wear loose-fitting clothes, so they do not rub or chafe your skin and irritate it even more. I hope you find these tips useful. Keep in mind that the prevention of sunburns is key. For extensive sunburns please seek urgent medical care.