‘Tis the season of fun in the sun!
Unfortunately, for many, it’s also the season of sunburns. If you’re prone to sunburns like I am, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You know just how uncomfortable and painful a sunburn can be. Although sunscreen should be worn every day to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun, none of us are perfect. There will be days when you forget to put on sunscreen or your sunscreen wears out.
These are the days that you’ll need to know how to soothe a sunburn.
The first step you need to take when you’re trying to soothe a sunburn is cooling the affected skin. Placing cool washcloths on the sunburned skin or taking a cool bath not only helps ease the pain and inflammation, but it can also help reduce the severity of the burn. Make sure you cool your skin as soon as you notice redness or discomfort from a sunburn.
Use Aloe Vera
Another great way to soothe a sunburn is by moisturizing and protecting the skin by slathering on some aloe vera gel. You can use the fleshy leaves from an actual aloe vera plant, or you can use store bought aloe vera gel. Chilled aloe vera gel can work miracles when you’re trying to soothe a sunburn, and I always keep a bottle of aloe vera gel in my refrigerator during the summer. Avoid using moisturizers with oil or other petroleum-based products, though, since this can actually trap heat and sweat and make a sunburn worse.
Use a Pain Reliever
If you have an especially painful sunburn, you might want to try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These can also sometimes help relieve inflammation. If a child is suffering from a painful sunburn, use a children’s pain reliever.
Protect Sunburned Skin
The last thing you want to do when you have a sunburn is expose your skin to even more sun. If you go outside, make sure you take the proper precautions. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF. You might also want to wear lightweight, light colored clothing to cover your skin as much as possible. Hats and sunglasses can protect your face and shoulders.
Know When You Can’t Soothe a Sunburn Yourself
You can usually treat and soothe a sunburn at home and professional medical treatment is rarely needed for a sunburn, even the most severe ones. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to seek medical attention. If a sunburn includes blisters over much of the body or intense pain that makes it difficult to move, you should consult your physician. You should also seek emergency medical attention if you or someone else has symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, confusion, or fainting after getting a sunburn.