We all know sunburns are evil – they damage cellular DNA, accelerate aging, and increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
And we know that we should use sunscreen (SPF of at least 30) daily, hang out in the shade whenever possible. When we’re out in the sun, we should cover up our skin as much as possible with protective clothing, a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) rays. But sometimes we don’t do all – or any – of these things. Or sometimes we decide to abandon common sense to follow a foolish fad, like sunburn art.
Here’s how to treat your poor, burnt skin if you’ve been lax about sun protection.
Take a cool bath, apply cold compresses (consider soaking the compress cloth in milk or cool green tea to reduce the burn and inflammation more effectively), and mist yourself with cool water. Take a cool bath. And make sure to drink plenty of cool, non-caffeinated liquids, too. The sooner you can cool your skin down after you overdo the sun exposure, the better – you may be able to lessen the burn’s severity a bit if you act fast.
Apply aloe straight from the plant or moisturizing cream/lotion with aloe, glycerin or hyaluronic acid. You might want to apply a 1% hydrocortisone cream to reduce pain and swelling, advises WebMD. Pop your lotions and potions into the fridge for extra cooling action.
Avoid products containing fragrance or alcohol, which can further aggravate your now-tender skin. Be wary of burn treatment products containing anesthetics, such as benzocaine, which can also irritate your skin if you use more than the recommended dosage. If you use antiaging or acne control skin care products, skip them until your skin is well-healed.
4: Hands Off
Do not break any blisters that may develop, and do not “help” your skin to peel. Just keep moisturizing and drinking those fluids.
Aspirin or ibuprofen can help stop sunburn’s inflammation and damage from worsening, and help to ease the pain of a burn. But if you have a severe sunburn, particularly one with blisters, that covers a large portion of your body, are running a high fever or are experiencing pain that over-the-counter drugs can’t ease, head to your health care professional.
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