|A Bit About Sunburn
The sun gives off a range of ultraviolet (UV) rays. UVA rays are the ones that age your skin, UVB rays burn it and UVC rays are the most dangerous because they penetrate deeper and cause damage to the fat layers of the skin. To protect itself the skin thickens and turns brown. While most of us know at this stage that too much exposure to sun speeds up the signs of ageing, wrinkles and age-spots. What is less known is that if you tan more slowly you can reduce the sun's ageing effect on your skin. In other words you can still achieve a nice color and save your skin by just not being impatient. Furthermore, a little sun on the skin is good for you. If you don't get enough sun you become depleted in vitamin D, which is vital for healthy teeth and bones. But what happens if you do over-do the sun? It happens to us from time to time. If you do start to turn pink in the sun, act quickly to cover up. Sun burn takes 4 to 6 hours to come up, so what may seem no problem on the beach, could turn into a scorcher later in the evening.
5 Home Remedies For Sunburn
If you do sunburn, stay out of direct sunlight and cover up the affected areas of skin until you are completely healed.
1. Cool With Water
Cool the skin by having a cool bath or shower, or sponge the skin gently. If you are having a bath, sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda into it to help soothe the pain. Don't dry off, let your body dry naturally. Drink plenty of cold fluids to help you cool down and to rehydrate the skin. Avoid drinking alcohol until your skin has recovered.
For mild cases of sunburn apply an after-sun lotion. This will cool your skin and relieve the feeling of tightness. Creams containing aloe vera are soothing, and calamine lotion or urtica cream helps relieve soreness and itchiness.
3. Hydrocortisone Cream
According to dermatologist Shawn Allen you can use a hydrocortisone cream for a few days to relieve discomfort (such as Cortaid or Cortizone-10). This type of cream contains a corticosteroid which when applied directly to sunburn reduces pain and inflammation. You should never apply a hydrocortisone cream to the face, genitals or areas of broken skin.
4. Take Painkillers
Don't wait until symptoms are bad, take a painkiller as soon as you see signs of sunburn and keep it up for 2 days. This cuts back on the swelling and redness and may prevent long-term skin damage. Ideally take ibuprofen (Advil for example which is also suitable for children). Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and paracetamol will treat the pain but will do nothing for inflammation. Never give aspirin to children under 16.
Small blisters usually heal on their own. Don't cover the blisters, just leave them alone. If you do need to cover them because clothing is rubbing against them, do so with a loose bandage. Try to secure the bandage so it does not touch the blisters. If possible avoid wearing clothing that aggravates blisters until they have healed.
Natural Remedies For Face Sunburn
If you have burnt your face then points 1, 2 and 4 above still apply. You may also find these remedies help relieve pain:
If your eyelids are burned, soak two tea bags in cool water and place over the eyes. The tannic acid in tea seems to help ease pain and reduce swelling.
Apply natural yogurt to sunburned areas and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse off gently with cold water and pat the skin dry.
When To Seek Medical Attention
1. If blisters and burns cover more than 20 percent of the body (for example, the whole back).
2. If you are suffering fever and chills.
3. You develop a skin infection from scratching or itching your sunburn.
Your doctor may prescribe a stronger corticosteroid cream or in severe cases a short course of prednisone. Special burn dressings may also be required.
How Long Does Sunburn Last?
Moderate sunburn takes about 5 days to subside, although the pain should start to subside after the first 2 days. If you are burned badly however, it could take up to 2 weeks before your skin feels normal again.
Tips For Sunbathing
1. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If you are sweating a lot add a little extra sea salt to your food to replenish lost minerals in your body.
2. Some scientists now think that chemical based sunscreens do more harm than good (ones that contain OMC, sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate, octyl, artificial colours and fragrances). Certain preservatives such as parabens used in sunscreens mimic the effects of estrogen and are linked to female cancers. Where possible, use organic sunscreens such as:
• Alba Botanica's Natural Hawaiian Sunscreen
• Aveeno's Natural Protection.
In the UK good brands include:
• Green People's sunscreens
• Caudalie sunscreen
• Curasol by Curaderm
• Dr Hauschka sun products.
3. Certain products can trigger stronger reactions to sun, these include: Antibiotics, St John's wort herb, water pills and antihistamines like Benadryl. Check with your doctor if you are taking these.
4. To protect your eyes from premature aging and cataracts, wear wrap-around sunglasses in the sun. This will block nearly 100 percent of UVA rays.
5. Take 3000 to 5000 iu of vitamin D3 daily for 2 months before you go on vacation. This should reduce the risk of burning. Sun screens will still be necessary.
How To Remove Peeling Skin
Within a few days your sunburn will begin to fade and peel. Be careful about pulling off large pieces of skin - if you peel off bits that are not ready to come off you could damage your skin and cause infection or scarring. To remove skin follow these steps:
1. Take a lukewarm bath; add a few tablespoons of baking soda. This will loosen the skin.
2. Use a soft cloth to gently wipe away skin that is very loose. Don't use loofahs or any rough sponges because they can damage new, healthy skin underneath and cause infections.
3. Pat your skin dry with a towel.
4. Cut any hanging bits of skin with a scissors. Don't pull them off.
5. Apply a thick moisturizer with aloe Vera liberally. Apply a moisturizer 4 or 5 times a day, this will not only speed up healing but also cover up that ugly peeling-skin look.
How to treat heatstroke: When too much sun turns dangerous.
What is a wrinkle? See, how the sun causes premature wrinkles.