How to Recover From a Sunburn
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 1 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. These numbers show the importance of staying safe while outdoors this summer. By now, you're aware of what's needed to protect yourself from the sun. You've already loaded up on sunscreen and eye protection, and you packed your bags with layers of clothing to shield yourself from the strong rays. However, sometimes no matter how carefully you apply and reapply your sunscreen and stay under an umbrella at the lake or beach, you wind up with a nasty sunburn.
Burns can range in symptoms from a dull stinging to a full blown episode of sun poisoning, complete with nausea, painful rashes and more. While there's no way to reverse the effects of your burn, there are remedies that can help your symptoms. Follow this guide to recovering from a sunburn.
Apply Cold Compresses
Ice packs and towels dipped in special substances are your best companion when trying to immediately relieve the stinging symptoms of your sunburn. Soak a towel in ice water and wring it out, then layer it over your affected area. This should dull the feeling for a little until the coolness dissipates. Continue soaking and wringing for as long as necessary. You can also enhance the effects of this treatment by running a fan directly on the area.
If you've ever had a headache after getting a nasty sunburn, it's likely a sign of dehydration, which often accompanies burns. One quick way to treat this symptom is by loading up on water or another source of liquid that will rehydrate you. An even better option is coconut water, which will keep you in your summery spirits while also giving you all of the hydration you need.
Bathe With the Right Ingredients
A cold shower will help provide immediate relief for your burn, but there are other ways you can treat your sunburn in the shower or bath. One effective option is to add oatmeal to your bath, which can be a lifesaver if you have a burn all over your body. Run a bath with cool water and add a cup of oatmeal, then sink in and allow it to get to work on your sore skin.
White vinegar is a great natural substance for a variety of purposes, including jazzing up a salad, cleaning a countertop and dulling the stinging effects of a sunburn. Splash some on your burn for immediate relief. While this is an effective solution, it's not a perfect one. For starters, the smell can be irritating to some people. Also, it's relatively short-lasting. Relief only lasts about 20 minutes or so before the soreness returns and you're forced to reapply. Instead, opt for a cortisone cream that has similar effects but won't leave you smelling like a salad.
Moisturize Your Skin
Many of these remedies will provide immediate relief, but they won't do much for the long-term. In fact, a lot of the astringents you use to feel better can work against you. They can leave your skin feeling tight and dry, which further adds to the stinging feeling you're trying to soothe. Be sure to moisturize your skin constantly throughout the day. Slather yourself in bath oil, then follow up with a heavy duty body lotion once that dries. Continue the process to keep skin from drying out and feeling even worse.