Welcome to our ultimate guide on how to tame your summer sunburn! With the scorching sun rays and longer days, summer is the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities and soak up some vitamin D. However, spending too much time under the sun without proper protection can lead to painful sunburns, leaving your skin red, irritated, and in need of some tender loving care.
Summer is about island getaways, big waves (in the ocean and our hair) and sun-kissed skin, of course. After all, is it really summer if you don’t get an amazing tan out of it? From perfecting base tans to strategically lining up with the sun, we do a lot all in the name of getting some good color. But sometimes, despite our best efforts to become bronze goddesses, we end up burnt to a crisp.
Understanding Sunburns: Causes, Symptoms, and Risks
Sunburn occurs when your skin is exposed to excessive ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial sources such as tanning beds. UV radiation damages the DNA in your skin cells, triggering inflammation and the characteristic redness associated with sunburn. Some common causes of sunburn include prolonged sun exposure, lack of sun protection, and reflective surfaces like water or snow.
Symptoms of Sunburn
When you experience sunburn, your skin may exhibit various symptoms, including:
- Redness and inflammation
- Pain and tenderness
- Warmth to the touch
- Itchiness and peeling
- Blisters in severe cases
Risks Associated with Sunburn
Repeated sunburns can have long-term consequences on your skin’s health. It can accelerate skin aging, increase the risk of skin cancer, and cause permanent skin damage. Understanding the risks of sunburn is crucial for taking proactive measures to protect your skin.
Whether you traded in sunblock for too much tanning oil or fell asleep in the sand, your scorched self will need help recovering. Try these tricks to tame your summer sunburn.
Take a Chill Pill
Your body is burnt, aching and angry with you for “forgetting” to put on SPF 50. Calm it down with an anti-inflammatory painkiller at the first signs of sunburn.
Pop two ibuprofen like Advil or Motrin to reduce swelling and redness, and to ease the pain of moving around with sun scorched skin. An acetaminophen like Tylenol will be better for you if you’re feeling headachy or have chills, but won’t really treat swelling.
Either way, you’ll be helping your skin cool down while preventing it from getting worse.
Blistered and peeling isn’t exactly a sexy look for a beach getaway. Skin will flake off in weird places, blisters will bubble, and you’ll want to scratch every inch of your burnt self. But whatever you do, resist touching! Let your body do its thing on its own terms.
This means no picking, peeling, scratching or popping no matter how unattractive, uncomfortable and slow the natural healing process may be. The last thing a girl needs on her vacation is a skin infection on top of sunburn.
Keep it Cool
Make the transition from relaxing on the beach to relaxing in a bath. Soaking in cold water or an ice bath is the perfect way to sooth the initial stages of sunburn. It helps to relieve itching, redness and swelling, and returns your body’s temperature to normal.
Avoid irritating your skin with harsh soaps and vigorous scrubbing by opting for a natural cleanser and gently rinsing. Even if you’re more of a shower gal, you’ll want to stay away from cool streams hitting your sensitive skin, which will hurt a more than it’ll help.
Go Ahead: Milk it
Milk contains proteins, vitamins and fats that will hydrate and sooth your bright red skin. After that cold bath, try placing towel soaked in milk on the burnt areas for about 15-20 minutes. A cold milk compress will help to tame the sunburn and leave your skin feeling cool and calm.
Try a Classic Fix
Here’s the reason so many people rely on aloe vera to treat their sunburn: it works. With vitamins A, C and E, aloe vera is chock full of the antioxidants your dry, dehydrated skin craves after too much sun.
Aloe calms the skin and helps to move the healing process along. Use it straight from the plant or slather on an aloe vera gel for instant redness relief and a much-needed cooling effect.
Smooth and Soothe
Lotion is your burnt body’s best friend. Keep your skin slick with moisturizing and hydrating creams that contain Vitamins C and E, antioxidants, ceramides, oatmeal or soy.
The more you moisturize the better your skin will feel and look even when it inevitably begins to peel. Keep a bottle of lotion close by and massage it into your skin regularly to avoid drying out.
You might have the urge to layer on anti-aging creams and serums to combat UV damage, but you have to resist! Anti-aging products contain things like retinol and alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, which are fine for healthy bodies, but are too harsh to use on skin that’s sensitive and raw. Put your anti-aging routine on hold until the sunburn completely heals.
Heal From the Inside
Creams may have you covered on the outside, but healing comes from within, too. Sunburn causes dehydration and fatigue so make sure you drink up! Try coconut water, electrolyte enhanced drinks or green tea not only to quench your thirst but also to protect you from future sun damage.
And if you’re feeling bold enough to debut your red hot skin (literally) at a restaurant, choose a dish rich in omega-3s to help heal and protect your lovely self from future UV exposure.
Drink plenty of water: Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Hydration helps replenish the lost fluids and promotes skin healing from within.
Incorporate hydrating foods: Include water-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet, such as watermelon, cucumbers, oranges, and strawberries. These foods not only hydrate your body but also provide essential vitamins and antioxidants for skin repair.
Avoid dehydrating beverages: Limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeinated beverages, as they can further dehydrate your body and hinder the healing process.
Supplements for Sunburn Relief
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is known for its antioxidant properties and its ability to moisturize and nourish the skin. You can find vitamin E supplements in capsule form or incorporate foods rich in vitamin E, such as almonds, sunflower seeds, and spinach, into your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and support skin health. You can find omega-3 supplements derived from fish oil or consume foods like salmon, chia seeds, and walnuts.
How to Soothe Sunburned Lips
Choose a lip balm that offers sun protection with SPF 30 or higher. Apply it generously to your lips throughout the day, especially when exposed to the sun.
Apply a small amount of pure aloe vera gel to your sunburned lips. Aloe vera’s soothing properties can help alleviate discomfort and promote healing.
Dealing with Sunburned Scalp and Hair
While we often focus on protecting our skin, it’s important not to overlook our scalp and hair when it comes to sunburn. Here are some tips for dealing with sunburned scalp and hair:
- Protect your scalp: Wear a wide-brimmed hat or use a scarf to shield your scalp from direct sun exposure. This helps prevent sunburn on your scalp and protects your hair from UV damage.
- Apply sunscreen to your scalp: If you have thinning hair or exposed areas on your scalp, apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect those areas. Use a spray sunscreen or ask someone for assistance to ensure even coverage.
While all of the above work wonders for calming light sunburn, severe cases require serious medical attention. If a burn covers 20% or more of your body or you experience persistent fever, chills, nausea or excessive pain, visit a doctor!
So there you have it, YouQueeners! Don’t let a little sunburn ruin your vacation plans—these remedies will tame summer sunburn and help to return your skin to its happy and more importantly, healthy self so you can keep making the most of summer! How do you tame your summer sunburn?