By Bre Harrigan
You lather on the sunscreen and stayed in the shade for what you thought was an ample amount of time. But when you get home and look in the mirror, you realize that the sun has betrayed you once again. As dedicated as you may be to staying safe out in the summer heat, it is so easy to get a sunburn, even on a cloudy day! So what do you do if you do if you get a sunburn?
Take a cool bath/shower:
Since your skin basically feels like it’s on fire, the last thing you want to do is bathe in hot water. As uncomfortable as cooler water can be while showering, it will help ease the inflammation. Once you’re out of the shower, pat your skin gently with a towel and apply a good moisturizer to stop the burn from drying up.
Take an aspirin:
As much as you hate to admit it, sunburns are one of the most uncomfortable things ever. Your skin is screaming at you and you can’t really do anything but wait. It will help you a lot to take some sort of Advil or Tylenol, as they are usually anti inflammatory and will help ease the pain.
Water…and more water
When you have a sunburn, your skin is incredibly dehydrated. So drinking water will actually help it heal so much faster! Basically, a sunburn takes the fluid from the rest of your body and brings it to the surface of your skin, so drinking tons of water will keep you hydrated while your burn heals.
Keep it covered
Of course when you’re on a week long tropical vacation and you get sunburnt on the first day the last thing you want to do is cover up your skin. How are you supposed to get a great tan to show off when you get home? Well, as much as it disappoints to keep yourself covered at the beach, once you get a bad sunburn your skin is so much more sensitive. So laying out in the sun for even longer could turn a slightly developed sunburn into a second degree burn.
The holy grail on any vacation…aloe vera. It’s both anti inflammatory and a cooling agent and let me tell ya, lathering up your body in some aloe makes you feel like a gross slug, but definitely eases the pain and helps your body heal. The best way to get aloe is straight from the plant, but if that isn’t possible store bought gel is great too.
Don’t peel it off yourself!
This is the hardest part for me, as I’m sure it is for most everyone else. The feeling of peeling off dead skin is so satisfyingly gross. But peeling off your sunburnt skin yourself keeps your skin from healing at it’s own pace. When you peel off the skin yourself, the new skin has yet to heal completely and is open to new infections. The outer layer of the skin is protecting you from infections, so peeling it off yourself is a bad idea. Peeling your sunburn could also be the cause of scarring after the burn has healed.
Hopefully these tips will help you heal better and allow you to either avoid a sunburn altogether or still have a great vacation even if you look like a lobster. An important thing to remember is that no matter how badly you want a tan, abusing your skin will result in awful things such as skin cancer or sun damage. Another thing that could happen is your skin could look like leather when you’re older and be even more wrinkly than normal. And no one wants that! Stay safe out there!