Oops! You somehow missed my “Best 5 Ways to Avoid Looking Like a Lobster this Summer” post and got a sunburn 😦 Time to stay out of the sun for awhile and begin the recovery process. You inadvertantly damaged your body’s main protection from the outside world- your skin. Sunburns can be quite serious. While the majority of sunburns are considered 1st degree burns, 2nd and even 3rd degree burns do happen. If your skin is no longer intact, blistering, extremely painful, or you have fever/ chills/ nausea, please get medical attention. Otherwise, minor sunburns can be effectively treated at home and should completely heal within a few weeks.
First things first- be gentle! Avoid tight clothes, scratchy towels, adhesive bandages, or anything else that will cause more trauma to your pink flesh.
Cool the burn- the verdict is still out on whether you should take a hot, cold, or tepid shower. A good rule of thumb is to listen to your body and not do anything extreme. Really hot water or ice should be avoided. Stick to lukewarm water, shower or bath- your choice. If you choose to soak, there are a variety of things that you can add to your bath water to help ease the pain and soothe your skin.
- whole milk
- oatmeal (grind to a fine powder in your blender/ food processor and make a little bag out of cheesecloth, drop the bag in your bath to get all the benefits without the mess)
- lavender oil (naturally soothing and antiseptic)
Cool compresses are very helpful.
- Try using chilled cucumber slices on small areas, or cucumber juice as a compress.
- Steep a tea bag and let it cool, apply to the skin. Black/ green/ mint teas are all beneficial
- plain yogurt (ideally full fat) is soothing and cooling to slather on, although a little messy. Be sure to rinse yourself off after 15min
Aspirin/ Ibuprofen/ Acetaminophen will reduce the pain and swelling associated with sunburn, especially during the 1st 24hrs.
Aloe is the old standby for a reason- it works! Just be sure to read the ingredients on your product. Alcohol will further dry out your skin, and added fragrance/ colors are often irritating.
After a few days you might start to peel. While this isn’t pretty, it is your body’s natural process once new skin is ready to come to the surface. Don’t use any harsh exfoliants to help it along, just be patient! If fluid-filled blisters develop, leave them alone. The clear fluid helps the area to heal and protects it from bacteria. If they do pop, gently cleanse the area with cool water and apply a little antibiotic ointment or honey. If a skin flap is there, place it back over the sore and wrap the area with gauze. Tape the gauze, not your skin.
Stay Hydrated. You need extra water at this time. Also, feed your body more protein and vitamins- essential for healing!
Wishing you a speedy recovery!