Summer is around the corner, and after a cold winter it is important to remember that a sun protection routine is necessary on sunny days. But – how do you get sunburn relief when you forget to protect your skin?
You know you’re supposed to minimize sun exposure to avoid sunburn. But despite your best efforts of slathering on sunscreen before you go outside, sometimes you forget. Maybe you forget to re-apply. Maybe you spend more time in the sun than you anticipated! It happens to the best of us. And sometimes you’ll end up burned. When this happens, it’s important to know how to help soothe damaged skin fast to maximize your sunburn relief efforts and help prevent blisters.
How Bad is Your Sunburn?
There are two levels of severity when dealing with sunburns, and each is directly related to how long you’ve been in the sun. Sunburn can be a common experience during the sunny months, it is important that you know how to identify your symptoms during any degree of sunburn.
- First-degree burn symptoms include redness and itching. They usually take less time to heal and are responsive to most remedies.
- Second-degree burns are more serious, can show signs of peeling and swelling, and can only tolerate these remedies when blisters are not present.1
Before trying any of these sunburn relief remedies, it’s important to first figure out what degree of burn you are experiencing.
Here are seven answers to the question of how to help get rid of sunburn symptoms, like redness and blisters, and quickly bring sunburn relief.
1. Get Out of the Sun (and Stay Out)
At the first sign of sunburn symptoms, it is important to get out of direct sun exposure as quickly as possible. As your first and most immediate step towards sunburn relief, move your chair under a shady tree, open your umbrella and get under it, or go inside to cool down your body.
Until symptoms like redness or blisters are totally gone, it’s important to wear a wide-brimmed hat or long sleeves as protection from the sun’s damaging rays. Many fabrics are rated by UPF (instead of SPF, like sunscreens) and offer you a way to stay stylish and keep the sun from your skin.2
2. Try a Cold Shower or Compress
When trying to soothe uncomfortable symptoms of first or second-degree burns, one of the fastest remedies for sunburn relief is to lower your body’s surface temperature with cool water.
Taking a cool shower, or gently placing a cold compress on your sunburned skin, brings almost instant sunburn relief. It’s an easy “how to” when you want to soothe your skin without any additional steps.
3. Apply Aloe
Probably the most popular method, for both first and second-degree burns, when comparing the how-tos of sunburn relief, is aloe vera. First off, aloe vera is 99 percent water. And this sunburn relief powerhouse contains two naturally occurring compounds that help soothe skin fast:
While the presence of glycoproteins in aloe help minimize pain and irritation, there are also polysaccharides present in aloe vera which helps boost your skin’s natural ability to repair itself.
Glycoprotiens are present in cell membranes, and in this case, allow the hydrating and healing aspect of aloe to penetrate the damaged skin cells and heal your skin.
Polysaccharides provide structural support to cells, which allows your skin cells to repair themselves quickly.3
And aloe vera can be applied liberally and often, making this a great solution for impatient kids (and adults) who simply can’t wait for their sunburn to go away.
Although the aloe vera plant is a powerhouse of hydrating sunburn relief, there are other ways to best soothe your skin. First off, remember hydration can come from the inside out — so it’s always important to drink lots of water for skin health, especially after a full day in the hot sun.
For first degree burns, you can use your favorite lightweight skin lotion to cool down the surface of your skin and replenish moisture. It’s important to remember that thick creams or petroleum-based products should be avoided.
Well, these products can lock the heat into the top layer of your skin, which actually aggravates burns instead of bringing sunburn relief.4
5. Consider Essential Oils
If your skin feels too hot for a heavy cream lotion or aloe vera gel, essential oils may help bring the right kind of sunburn relief due to their medicinal properties.
For example, peppermint oil acts as an analgesic and provides a natural cooling sensation, which may ease your discomfort. Also, lavender oil also is a great solution when you don’t know how to lessen the redness or stinging sensation. It’s also antimicrobial by nature, which may help your skin heal.5
6. Boost Your Antioxidants
Antioxidants are important in your diet to balance out free radicals and boost your immunity, but they are also an important factor when deciding how to best soothe your sunburn quickly.
Vitamin E oil is an excellent way to soothe the uncomfortable symptoms of sunburn. It absorbs quickly, is lightweight in texture, and it is jam-packed with antioxidants. As with aloe vera, or essential oils, you can also apply vitamin E oil as often as you like for sunburn relief.6
7. Be Proactive
With all these options, how do you know what the best way to find sunburn relief is? Keep it from ever happening!
Remember that the most harmful UV rays occur between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m, so try to limit your outdoor activities to before, or after, that window. If you plan on going in the direct sun for longer than 15 minutes, remember to choose a mineral sunscreen that is high in SPF.
Sunscreen really ought to be one of your makeup bag “must-haves!” And, apply it often – one teaspoon of sunscreen per body part at least every two hours.7
The Takeaway for Sunburn Relief
While it’s healthiest for your skin to ‘Learn from the Burn’ and avoid getting sunburns at all costs, if it happens, you now know how to get sunburn relief when you need it fast. These steps are all great options to help soothe your skin and feel better quickly.
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