Going to the beach or an outdoor adventure is exciting. However, there are times that we spend a little too much time in the sun, which leads to painful sunburns. Sometimes, even if you do your best to protect your skin from the sun, it still gets burned due to spending long hours outdoors and forgetting to reapply sunscreen.
Sunburns are an absolute pain, and it is essentially unprotected skin that is injured by ultraviolet radiation. That’s why it’s very important to keep your skin protected at all times when going outdoors. If you are suffering from sunburn, no matter the reason for acquiring it, you surely want some quick and easy methods of relief. However, sunburn can normally last for a few days and several weeks, and there are no magic overnight sunburn fixes. But no worries, because there are a few things you can try to fast-track the healing of your skin.
If you are looking for some effective sunburn treatments, we’re here to give you some of the best tips you can try.
What Causes a Sunburn?
Before we head on to the tips, let us first understand how and why sunburn occurs. Sunburn is that burnt-to-a-crisp feeling that happens when your skin is exposed to too much sunlight or ultraviolet light from the sun. It is a wavelength of sunlight which can cause skin aging and lead to sunburns. It can also result in skin cancer.
When the skin is exposed to UV light, the body will try to protect itself by making melanin, or the dark pigment in the outer layer of the skin. This is what causes your skin to darken a bit. However, that can only help so much, even in people with naturally dark skin, which is a sign that they have a lot of protective melanin. If you are under a lot of UV light, you can pass the tanning threshold, leading to redness, stinging, itching, and swelling that characterized sunburns. And if the sunburn is intense, you can also experience fever, headache, nausea, and fatigue.
The symptoms of sunburn usually occur after a few hours of being exposed to the sun. After a few days, the top layer of your skin may peel off, and the layer below it may have an unusual color and pattern for a while. Keep in mind that every sunburn is different, and more intense ones can take longer to heal.
How to Treat a Sunburn
Here are some of the best tips we can give you when it comes to treating a sunburn:
Take a cold shower.
If you have a sunburn, never expose it to hot water. It’s because taking hot showers can strip your skin of essential oils and dry it out more, making it more sensitive. Instead, what you need to do is rinse it off with cold water. This can provide immediate relief to sunburned skin. However, if a direct stream of cold water feels too intense on your skin, you can also try a bath at room temperature.
Do not use soap on the sunburned area.
Sunburned skin usually feels tight. It’s because it is desecrated and dry, as it is losing water. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t use soap on the sunburned area on your skin. In fact, even mild soaps can be drying, so avoid using any kind of soap on it to make the recovery of your skin quicker.
Use a moisturizer that contains colloidal oatmeal.
When you have sunburned skin, you need to focus on bringing back moisture to your skin. After taking a bath, while your skin is still wet, apply a moisturizing lotion. This can give instant sun relief. You can use a moisturizer or lotion that contains colloidal oatmeal. It is a common ingredient in many topical products that are made for eczema. It’s because colloidal oatmeal has inflammatory properties and as well as barrier repair properties, which are perfect for sunburns.
Here are some moisturizers you can try:
- Cetaphil Pro Eczema Soothing Moisturizer
- Aveeno Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer
Soothe your sunburned skin with aloe vera.
Aside from moisturizers with colloidal oatmeal, you can also use skincare products with aloe vera. It can help speed the healing of first- and second-degree burns. Lotions that contain aloe vera can provide a soothing and cooling feeling to the sunburned area. You also need to apply it to your skin while it is still wet from the shower to make sure that moisture is locked in. You can continue applying it on your skin until the burn has healed.
Here are some of the best aloe vera moisturizers you can try:
- Hawaiian Aloe Vera Face and Body Moisturizer for Sunburn Relief
- Burt’s Bees Aloe & Coconut Oil After-Sun Soother
- Sun Bum Cool Down Aloe Vera Gel
- Solimo Sunburn Relief Gel with Aloe Vera
Use an ice pack on the sunburned area.
If you need some much-needed relief, you can use an ice pack, which can create a short term fix. It’s because a lot of nerves that transmit feelings of pain and burning also detect temperature. Therefore, an ice pack can fool those nerves into transmitting a cold feeling instead of pain.
Drink a lot of water.
It is also important to drink lots of water when you have sunburned skin. It’s because a sunburn brings fluid to the surface of the skin and away from your insides. Therefore, you need to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. But you don’t need to push drinking water to the point where you are uncomfortable. Just listen to your body and don’t let yourself get dehydrated.
These are some of the best tips we can give when it comes to treating a sunburn. Getting sunburned should also be a lesson to always wear sunscreen and sun-protective pieces of clothing. Aside from that, it is also important to spend less time in direct sunlight. If you need to be outdoors for longer periods, then ensure that you reapply sunscreen as often as needed. Keep in mind that prevention is always better than cure.