For many people, summer offers the best chance to go out and get some much-needed tan on their skin. However, staying too long under the sun can turn your suntan into blistering sunburns. This can easily ruin your dream vacation at the beach or at the nature park.
If you happen to develop sunburns on your skin, follow these five easy steps to help your body quickly heal itself. Being able to treat your burns in time can make a difference between having an enjoyable or miserable summer for you.
1. Cool Off Your Skin
One of the first things you need to do to treat a nasty sunburn is to cool off your skin. Try taking a quick dip if you're near a pool, lake, or ocean to help reduce the painful, burning sensation often associated with such skin sores. Make sure not to stay under the sun for too long and to cover your body up with a towel once you get out of the water.
If you're staying at home, you can use a cold compress made from ice water to treat your skin. Just don't apply it directly to your sunburn to avoid irritating it even further. You can also take a cool bath or shower to get similar results.
2. Reduce The Inflammation
Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen, is also a great way to alleviate the discomfort and inflammation caused by sunburns, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. The key is to take medication at the first sign of the burn and to continue with the treatment as directed until the skin sore gets better.
A natural alternative to NSAID treatment is to use aloe vera. This plant extract is considered safe to use and can help soothe the irritation of your skin.
Staying out of the sun can help prevent your sunburn from worsening even further. You can also wear loose, breathable clothing to keep your skin cool if you need to step outside.
3. Keep Your Sunburned Skin Moisturized
After a few days, you might notice that your sunburned skin is beginning to peel off. Don't panic. This is just the body's way of healing itself and getting rid of the damaged layer. You can help it heal faster by applying moisturizing lotion on the sore. Avoid using petroleum jelly or oil-based ointments as these could trap the heat from your body and make the sunburn even worse.
The Mayo Clinic suggests not to use products with "-caine" in their names, such as benzocaine. Treating your skin with these creams may only end up irritating your skin further or trigger an allergic reaction. In fact, benzocaine use has been linked to methemoglobinemia, a rare condition that lowers the amount of oxygen in the blood, resulting in death.
4. Keep Your Body Hydrated
Aside from keeping your skin moisturized using lotions, you can also help your body heal itself by drinking lots of fluids such as water and sports drinks. As the Skin Cancer Foundation explains, sunburns tend to draw fluids away from the rest of the body and to the damaged skin. This may result in dehydration if the body isn't allowed to replenish the electrolytes lost while it heals the skin burn.
5. Go See A Doctor
If your sunburns develop into severe blisters over a large area of your body and you experience wooziness, confusion, chills and a fever, you should go see a doctor immediately. You should also avoid scratching or popping the blisters since it could lead to infection.
Minor sunburns can be easily treated even using simple home remedies. However, the best way to avoid suffering these painful sores is still to limit your exposure to the sun's UV rays. If you're not careful, you might see these painful burns end up developing into skin cancer.