This weekend was the first big beach weekend for many people around the country, and that brings us to something that seems to happen at the first good outdoor trip every summer: sunburn. Maybe you forgot to apply sunscreen at all, and have a raw, painful sunburn. Or maybe you did apply sunscreen, but missed a spot or it wore off and you’ve got spotty sunburn. Or is it a sunburned child, spouse or friend who needs some hot after-care tips? Whether it’s you or someone you know, these sure-fire tips can help you minimize the effects of sunburn.
Apply Aloe Vera Liberally
Aloe vera is a natural sunburn remedy that people have been using for centuries. Aloe vera gel or lotion can help to soothe irritated sunburn, helping to cool and remove the sting from the sunburn. This is a great trick for kids that are suffering from sunburn pain, but it’s also a fantastic option for adults who want a natural sunburn remedy.
A good moisturizer can help slow the peeling process and help your skin heal from sunburn. Many afterburn lotions and gels contain both aloe vera and moisturizer, so you get the soothing effect of the aloe vera and the moisturizing that your skin needs at the same time. If you’re using a moisturizer only, make sure to apply it right after showering to help prevent your skin from drying out, and to help contain, slow and prevent peeling.
Hydrate with Good Old H2O
Good skin health depends a lot on staying hydrated. If you’ve been sunburned, hydrating yourself with good old water is a great way to help your skin begin to heal. Drink lots of water in the days following a sunburn; especially if you notice your skin beginning to peal. 8 to 10 glasses of water per day is a good rule of thumb. A glass is considered 8 ounces, so if you drink bottled water, you’ll need to drink three to five bottles per day to hydrate your skin and help it heal with a minimum of damage.
Resist the Urge to Peel Dead Skin
Peeling goes hand-in-hand with sunburn; the skin that is badly burned may die and start to peel off. Resist the urge to peel off that dead skin. If you forcibly peel or pull on dead skin, you can actually peel off skin that is starting to heal. You could cause scarring or an infection if you peel off dead skin. If skin is flaking off naturally, use a small pair of scissors to cut away only the dead skin. Don’t peel!
Consider a Medicated Sunburn Treatment
If you’re in a lot of pain or discomfort, consider a medicated sunburn treatment. Some after-sun creams or gels contain pain relieving ingredients that can help reduce the sting and discomfort of sunburn. This can be particularly helpful for children who are having a hard time dealing with the discomfort of sunburn, or if you find that wearing clothes over the affected area causes a lot of discomfort. You can buy medicated sunburn treatment sprays and gels at your local pharmacy.
Expert tip: if you have trouble getting sunscreen coverage in hard-to-reach spots, consider spray-on-sunscreen. This is great if you like to go to the beach by yourself, but it’s also a great way to apply sunscreen to kids.