Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors, soak up some Vitamin D, and relax in the sunshine. However, too much sun exposure can lead to a painful and uncomfortable problem: sunburn. Sunburn is a common skin injury that occurs when your skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays for too long. This can cause redness, inflammation, itching, and peeling. In this article, we’ll cover some effective remedies for soothing sunburn and share prevention tips to help you avoid it altogether.
The science behind sunburn is relatively simple. UVB rays from the sun penetrate the upper layer of your skin, causing DNA damage that results in inflammation and pain. The amount of damage depends on how long and how intense your sun exposure is, as well as your skin type and history of sun exposure. Sunburn can range from mild to severe, and it’s important to identify the level of sunburn you’re experiencing to determine the proper treatment.
The best way to remedy sunburn is to prevent it in the first place. Here are some tips for avoiding sunburn:
- Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and reapply every two hours.
- Stay in the shade during peak sun hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
- Wear a hat, sunglasses, and clothing that covers exposed skin.
- Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps.
Note that prevention is not only important for avoiding sunburn, but also for preventing long-term skin damage and lowering your risk of skin cancer.
Many natural remedies can help soothe sunburn and promote healing. Here are a few:
- Aloe vera: Apply aloe vera gel to the affected area to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
- Oatmeal: Take an oatmeal bath or make a paste with oats and water to relieve itching and inflammation.
- Cool compresses: Place a cool, damp towel or cloth on the affected area to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Coconut oil: Apply coconut oil to the affected area to soothe and moisturize the skin.
One of the benefits of using natural remedies is that they’re gentle and generally safe for all skin types. They also often contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can support healing.
If you prefer to make your own sunburn relief at home, there are plenty of recipes to try. Here are a few:
- Cooling spray: Mix equal parts water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and apply to the affected area for a cooling effect.
- Oatmeal cream: Combine 1 cup of natural, unsweetened yogurt with 1 cup of oats and apply to the affected area for 20 minutes. Rinse off with cool water.
- Lavender lotion: Mix 1/2 cup of coconut oil with 10-20 drops of lavender essential oil and apply to the affected area for a soothing, relaxing effect.
The benefits of making your own remedies include knowing exactly what ingredients are going into your treatment, saving money compared to buying over-the-counter options, and the satisfaction of creating something yourself.
We spoke to dermatologists and other healthcare professionals for their best tips and advice for treating sunburn effectively:
- “You can’t reverse sun damage, but you can minimize the negative effects. Make sure you’re using a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, think sunglasses and hats, and try to avoid the sun during peak hours.” – Dr. Fayne Frey, Board-Certified Dermatologist
- “Hydration is key to skin recovery and repair. Drinking water and using topical moisturizers is a must!” – Dr. Bryan Tran, Board-Certified Naturopathic Physician
- “Remember that some medications can increase your skin’s sensitivity to sun and increase your risk of sunburn. If you’re on any medications, make sure to check with your doctor about sun safety.” – Dr. Nicole Swiner, Family Medicine Physician
It’s always wise to seek expert advice if you have any concerns or questions about sunburn or your skin health.
Sunburn can be painful and uncomfortable, but with the right remedies and prevention strategies, you can soothe your skin and promote healing. Remember to practice sun safety by using sunscreen, staying in the shade, and avoiding peak sun hours. If you do get a sunburn, try natural remedies like aloe vera and oatmeal, or make your own DIY treatments with ingredients like coconut oil and lavender. And always seek medical attention if you’re experiencing severe sunburn or symptoms like fever and chills.