Too much fun in the sun? Treat sunburns at home
Spending as much time outside in the summertime can be wonderful, especially if you live in the northernernmost or southernmost latitudes. However, you jeopardize your health in so many ways when you don’t wear sunscreen. It is recommended by experts that you wear a sunscreen lotion with, at least, Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or above, re-applied every 2 hours. This a beauty commandment that should be followed faithfully. However, even the best of us can miss a spot and get sunburned.
Your first response for the best sunburn relief
Basically, there are two types of sunburns – mild and severe. If you have a sunburn that is painful red blisters on the skin, extreme pain, and nausea, do not hesitate to rush to a doctor – these are the signs of severe sunburns that can be relieved only by means of an emergency medical treatment. All other cases are, probably, mild sunburns that can be treated on your own with the help of home remedies for sunburn.
Be careful! A sunburn may cause a mild headache and fever. According to the expert team at WebMD, these symptoms are completely normal. The first thing you need to do is to lie down in a quiet room to relieve a headache. The further guidelines are described below.
What helps sunburn blisters?
Blisters are probably the most annoying symptom of a sunburn. However, if you have mild-to-moderate blisters, you can try treating them by means of some sunburn home remedies, recommended by the experts of the Mayo Clinic team:
- Small, pea-sized blisters, even with blood, can heal on their own. All you can do to help this natural process is to apply a loose bandage and clothes. Try being less active and move slowly during the healing;
- Large and painful blisters can be drained. Though, medics do not recommend doing this because of the possibility of infections.
Important! People who suffer from HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cancer, and heart diseases should avoid draining the sunburn blisters.
- If the blisters have torn open, you need to disinfect the area surrounding them:
- Wash the affected area with clean water.
- The flap of skin over the torn blisters shouldn’t be removed unless there is pus under it. Otherwise, try smoothing the flap over the tender skin;
- Using a non-stick bandage over a torn blister covered with petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) can speed up the healing. These bandages should be changed regularly.
Symptoms to beware of during the treatment for sunburn
If you forgot to apply a lotion for sunburn during sunbathing, commonly, it is a not a reason to visit a doctor. However, sometimes, even the best sunburn treatment at home can be useless, and only a health care specialist may help. Call your family doctor’s phone number if your sunburns cause:
- High fever;
- Vision problems that don’t disappear within a few hours after a sunburn;
- Dry mouth and dehydration that doesn’t go away;
- Developing the skin infection around blisters.
You are to beware the signs of the developing skin infection revealed through swelling, redness, red streaks, fever, warmth around the blisters, and pus coming from them.
What’s good for a sunburn: 5+1 essential tricks
Recently, Cosmopolitan and Dr. David E. Bank, M.D., a director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in New York, joined the forces to give you a bunch of expert tips that may ease the pain and help sunburn treatment at home:
Let the pills do their “magic”
Even if you are a fan of natural sunburn remedies, taking a sunburn medicine can save you from many unpleasant consequences like an enduring pain, skin infection or fever. According to WebMD, you may take over-the-counter (OTC) medications for quick sunburn pain relief:
- Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and Naproxen – may control the pain, reduce redness, swelling, and inflammation around the blisters;
- Aspirin as the best sunburn remedy can be taken inside or crushed into a powder and added to water to create a homemade anti-inflammatory paste. This paste can be applied topically, right on the burns, left for a few minutes, and then rinsed off with clean water.
Important! You need to consult a doctor before giving any of these drugs to kids. The dose of Ibuprofen and Tylenol has to be regulated according to a child’s weight and individual tolerability.
Another important notice is to avoid any “- caine” sunburn cream like Benzocaine. Such creams can only worsen the skin irritation and allergic reactions.
You need to cool down… literally
Soothing the burnt skin with a cool shower is the best thing for the sunburn treatment at home. A cool shower can remove any chlorine, salt water or sand that may irritate the sunburned skin. A cool bath is another good idea, especially with a cup of whole oats for extra-calming power.
Moisturizing remedies for sunburn can be your best “friends”
According to Dr. Josh Axe, another way to soothe irritated skin is to nourish it with a rich moisturizer. This can be a spray or ointment based on Aloe Vera gel, glycerin, or hyaluronic acid. Sprays can do the work for the large areas of sunburns, ointments may be applied to the smaller areas like your neck, ears, and nose.
A cool milk-soaked compress can save you from scars and pains
As soon as you notice that your skin is red and covered with small blisters, cleanse it. Then you may apply a cool compress soaked in milk (egg whites or green tea are possible alternatives). This compress can protect the skin from further irritation and reduce inflammation.
Water is life…especially if your skin is sunburned
The sun takes away the moisture from your skin, also dehydrating the rest of your body. That is why during intensive sunbathing and when treating mild sunburns you should be drinking plenty of water. It can be also beneficial to eat water-filled fruits like grapes, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and watermelon.
Bonus tip! A spray with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water in your bag may save the day
This simple home remedy can significantly relieve the symptoms of sunburns during the first day. Apple cider vinegar is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that can kill germs and speed up the healing process of the sun-damaged skin.
If the sunburn stays painful longer than 1-2 days, rush to the doctor to have proper medical treatment and prevent scars or skin infections.