How to Properly Treat Sunburns
Sunburns can be unbearable from skin peeling and redness to blisters and hot sensitive skin. Even with sunscreen it’s still possible to get a sunburn! If you find yourself without sunscreen and get burned here is how you can help soothe and heal stinging skin.
First things first, it’s important to begin treating the sunburn as soon as you notice it. Get indoors, get into shade, or if you can’t because you’re stuck at the beach with friends and family, put your clothes on!
Once indoors, follow these dermatologist tips to help relieve discomfort and heal:
1. Take frequent cool baths or showers to help relieve the pain. As soon as you get out, gently pat yourself dry, NEVER rub! Don’t fully dry, leave some moisture on your skin and then apply a moisturizer/lotion to help preserve water in your skin. This can help ease the dryness and post sunburn peeling.
2. Use the RIGHT moisturizer: use a moisturizer on your face and lotion on your body that contains aloe vera. If a particular area feels especially uncomfortable, consider applying hydrocortisone cream. Some of our favorites moisturizers and lotions include-
Dermalogica’s Calm Water Gel- This is a great lightweight cooling gel and while it’s not the most moisturizing it’s perfect for cooling the skin, reducing redness, and weightless for those who naturally have oily or sensitive skin.
Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance- a rich moisturizer with Hyaluronic acid and aloe to really lock in moisture.
Ahava Mineral Body Lotion- a soothing lotion with 21 minerals, aloe, and witch hazel for long lasting hydration.
3. Consider taking aspirin or ibuprofen to help reduce any swelling and discomfort.
4. Drink extra water. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body. In addition, even if you weren’t sun burnt, being in the sun for too long is taxing on the body and is best to recover fluids as soon as possible.
5. If your skin blisters, do NOT pop! Allow the blisters to heal by not touching them and preventing any friction such as tight fitted clothing. Blisters form to help your skin heal and protect from infection.
6. Be cautious with your skin to keep it protected. Again, don’t wear any tight fitted clothing, but at the same time, if you go outdoors wear clothing that covers your burns. To make sure the fabric is usable, hold it up to the sun. If you see any light coming through that means you’re good!
Even though a sunburn might seem temporary and will heal in a week or so depending on the severity, sunburns are damaging not just to the surface of your skin but deep beneath into the layers. The longer lasting damage can increase a person's risk for skin cancer, cause premature skin aging making skin look wrinkled, leathery in texture, discolored, and dry. While we all want that glowy warm tan, it doesn’t come without its cost. Apply sunscreen, reapply especially if you’re in and out of the water, recognize when you’re getting a bit red, and make the proper adjustments as seen above!