It is harder to treat sunburns than to prevent them and since there are no safe sunburns, it is important to take preventative measures when going out in the sun. It is still fairly common to find someone who has suffered serious sunburn to the point that they are at risk of first and second degree burns, skin cancer and increased risk of sun poisoning. If you have suffered sunburn, it is important to note that your skin may display its effects for the next 24 days or more. There are no quick fixes to get rid of sunburn as it takes several days for the skin to heal completely. However, there are a few ways to speed up the process.
Immediate remedies to help you deal with sunburn
There are several immediate actions that you can take to ensure that you are able to reduce the effects of the sunburn on your skin. The first thing you should do is get out of the sun as soon you are aware that your skin is burning. Your skin may however continue to burn even when you get indoors. Taking a cold shower should help reduce the burning and also help you reduce the effect of the sunburn on your skin. Take a long cold shower, preferably 2-10 minutes long. Pat your skin dry after you get out of the shower. It is important to be very gentle, as sever sunburns can cause blisters and you don’t want to break the blisters. Aloe Vera lotion is a good remedy to help soothe your irritated skin. The Aloe Vera lotion you choose should however, not contain alcohol. A lotion with alcohol will dry out your skin and cause further skin damage. The best remedy would be applying the aloe vera directly from the plant itself although a good aloe vera lotion without fragrance should work just fine. Finally, make sure that you drink plenty of water. Too much exposure to the sun can cause dehydration. Drink plenty of water in the coming days as you wait for your skin to heal. Well hydrated skin will heal a lot faster, not to mention is healthier and therefore less likely to be damaged by the sun.
At-home remedies for sunburn
Sometimes the best remedies for sun-burnt skin are available in your home. One of the best ways to soothe the skin and hence accelerate the healing process is the application of a cold compress to the affected areas. Here are a few ways to make a cold compress that can be helpful:
- Use Ice cubes in a few layers of damp paper towel and press them to the affected areas. Move the compress around the affected area for up to 5 minutes.
- You can also use tea. All you need to do is apply the lukewarm tea or the used tea bags to the affected area and leave it on for about 5 minutes.
- Another alternative is cold milk or yogurt that can be applied directly on the affected area. Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse off with cool water.
Some Medical Remedies for Sunburn
In most cases sunburns are not severe and can be treated by the remedies described above with good results. However, if you experience pain, inflammation or a bad headache, you may need medical intervention. In this case, you can take non-steriodial anti-inflammatory medications, some of which you can buy over the counter at your local pharmacy. They are effective in reducing the inflammation as well as getting rid of the fever like symptoms that most people who suffer sever sunburns can exhibit. These medications are also instrumental in reducing the risk of peeling of the skin, a common problem people with sever sunburn often have.
Taking care of blisters caused by sunburn
Sun-burnt skin is very sensitive and therefore requires extra care to ensure that damage is kept to a minimum. There are two problems that a person with sunburns will have.
One of the two is extra itchy skin. However, it is a bad idea to scratch the skin as scratching will only cause more tissue damage and increase the risk of peeling.
The second problem that most people suffering from sunburn will experience is the onset of blisters. Blisters are rare although they can occur when the skin has been exposed to the sun for longer periods of time and the sunburn is severe. Proper care needs to be taken when dealing with blisters caused by sunburn.
Firstly, it is not advisable to pop the blisters, no matter how much you want to. Popping them could lead to infection, a situation that could cause more problems for your skin. Be gentle with your skin especially after a shower, to avoid breaking any blisters that may have formed. There are sometimes when blisters will break regardless of how much care you give your skin. In this case, apply anti-bacterial spray on the affected areas to prevent infection. Aloe vera is a good remedy to use on blisters that haven’t popped. If they open, don’t use any other kind of lotion other than anti-bacterial spray or lotion.
Prevention is better than cure
There are a number of measures you can take that can help you avoid sunburns. If you are going to go out in the sun, keep yourself covered. Long sleeved shirts, floppy hats and umbrellas can be very helpful to you. In case there are areas that cannot be adequately covered, make sure that you use sunscreen. An SPF 45 or more is ideal for people of fair skin and can allow you to stay for hours in the sun without having to re-apply. Make sure that all exposed skin is covered by the sunscreen lotion of your choice. Avoid lying in the sun to get a tan. This is the major cause for sunburn and is also very damaging to the skin. If you want a tan, gradually go about it. Expose your skin to the sun for shorter periods and build a tan over time.