I am born-and-raised Minnesotan from Northern European descent. That means only one thing: my skin is so frickin white I glow. This makes me incredibly susceptible to getting sunburned. I have experienced my fair share of sunburn over the years and in my adulthood I have grown borderline fearful of direct sunlight. Last year on a trip to the Dominican I sunburned my lower lip (admittedly I didn’t even know that was possible). I woke up in the morning and it had swelled twice its normal size, I looked ridiculous and enjoyed a nice blister for the next week and a half. Now, if I’m going to be out in the sun for extended periods of time I slather myself with SPF 70 every 30 minutes, use an SPF chap stick, wear a heat, sunglasses and duck into the shade as much as possible.
Yet, even with the best of intentions I sometimes find myself dozing off in my chair or splashing around in the water a bit longer than I thought I would. Low and behold the result is sunburn. In addition to learning new strategies to fight off sunburn, I have also collected some remedies over the years to help battle the burn should you get one and today I am going to share them with you.
Avoid Further Sun Exposure
The first step to healing is to avoid any further exposure to the sun! This one seems like an obvious one, but sometimes people will think they are OK if they slather on an extra layer of SPF or a floppy hat but in reality, you are only doing further damage to your already injured skin. In order for the body’s healing process to kick in you absolutely must stay out of the sun. People forget that sunburn is literally a burn. You wouldn’t repeatedly touch a hot iron or pan after sustaining a burn, would you? Same goes for repeat exposure to the sun after getting sunburned: don’t do it.
Our skin is the largest organ of our body and our bodies rely heavily on adequate water intake, our skin is no exception. After sunburn our skin will be working overtime to regenerate new, healthy skin and in order to do that it needs water – lots of water. As you may notice, skin can become incredibly dry after being sunburned (even though your skin is trying to “drink” as much water from your body as possible). Drink plenty of filtered water at room temperature. Warmer water is easier and quicker for your body to absorb than cold water. Adequate water intake will keep you hydrated but will also help your skin rejuvenate more quickly.
Aloe Vera is a medicinal plant that has been used to treat burns for thousands of years. Whether you decide to use an all-natural aloe Vera gel in a bottle or fresh aloe from a plant you buy at the store, aloe will help keep your skin moisturized, prevent infection and bacterial growth, reduce pain and inflammation, minimize peeling and help your skin heal much more quickly. Generously apply aloe Vera gel to your sun burn several times a day until you no longer feel pain or itching associated with your burn.
A Deep Moisturizing Cream
Once your skin has begun to rejuvenate and you are no longer in pain you are not quite out of the woods yet. It is still very important to stay out of the sun and get plenty of water. However, at this stage in the healing process you can discontinue the use of aloe vera gel and switch over to a deep moisturizing cream if you prefer. Once the pain associated with sunburn begins to dissipate you have already begun to produce new skin. It is important to pamper that new skin in order to encourage continued growth. Keeping your new skin soft and supple with a moisturizing cream is the best way to do this. Try to use a natural lotion or cream that is free of dyes, alcohol or perfumes because this will only agitate the new skin. Using creams and moisturizers made from royal jelly, shea butter, milk, honey or aloe are going to be highly beneficial to your new skin. Apply your chosen moisturizer several times a day for at least a week following your initial sunburn for best results.
I’m sure everyone has experienced sunburn at least once in their lives, no one is immune no matter what color skin you have. It is best to take the proper precautions to avoid sunburn in the first place, but as I mentioned above, sometimes the best laid plans still have room for a little bit of error, or sunburn in this case. So the next best thing is to take great care of your skin after.