Natural Ways to Treat Sunburn| August 23, 2022
Now the summer has arrived, it is time to go outside and enjoy the sunshine. It is the season for vacations to the beach, family cookouts, and sunburns. If you are not wearing protection, it can take a few minutes for your skin to burn. Sunburn, however, is usually an unavoidable side effect of all those summertime hours spent outside. Unfortunately, those UV rays can slip through even if you have applied sunscreen daily and leave you with a painful, itchy red burn.
While some moderate sun exposure is important for your health to prevent vitamin D deficiency, too much sun exposure can cause harmful sunburn or sun poisoning, which can raise your risk of skin cancer and early wrinkles.
What Is Sunburn?
Sunburn is skin irritation brought on by excessive exposure to UV radiation, particularly from sunshine1. You get sunburn when the sun or another UV light source strikes an unexposed part of your body and emits more ultraviolet rays than your skin can withstand. As a result, your skin's protective pigment, melanin, is subsequently released.
When you get a sunburn, your skin's outermost layers are burned. It is an inflammatory response to receiving too much UV light from the sun. In severe situations, it may result in blistering and peeling in addition to reddening and irritation. The peeling indicates that your body is attempting to expel the damaged skin cells.
About a third of adult Americans in the United States have sunburned annually, and more than 33,000 of these burns necessitate trips to the emergency room, according to the National Cancer Institute2. You run a higher risk of burning if you have fair skin or spend a lot of time in the sun. More severe sunburns take longer to cure than less severe ones.
Natural Ways to Treat Sunburn
There are several methods that can help your body's natural healing process and lessen the discomfort that occurs with sunburn. To recover from a first-degree sunburn, you must give your body enough time to regenerate new skin. Only the skin's epidermis is harmed by first-degree sunburn and generally appears red. It may peel as the skin renews itself after a few days.
Your body recovers itself slowly, but you can speed up the healing process by doing the following:
- Get sufficient rest
- Have enough fluids
- Keep your skin moisturized
Additionally, here are some recommendations to aid with recovery and treat sunburn:
1. Cool Water
A sunburn is skin inflammation. Affected-area cooling is among the simplest approaches to managing inflammation. Jumping in the water, be it an ocean, lake, or stream, can effectively relieve sunburn while you are still outside. Daytime sunburn can be prevented by dipping in and out several times throughout the day. Avoid chlorinated water in swimming pools as it can aggravate skin irritation. Also, avoid putting ice on your skin directly. It could seem pleasant when your skin is burning, but it could end up hurting your extra-sensitive burnt skin much more.
2. Draw A Bath to Relieve Sunburn
As another option to cool and relax your skin, consider taking a bath.
Don't Use Soap
When you get out of the sun after a long day, your first instinct might be to rinse off but hold off before getting too foamy. Bubble baths and soap can aggravate and dry up burnt skin. Your skin can be soothed by taking a cold bath or shower. The cold water will feel wonderful and make your skin look less red by reducing inflammation.
The American Academy of Dermatology advises gently patting yourself dry to avoid causing irritation, but to leave some water on the skin to prevent irritation3.
Take A Relaxing Oatmeal Bath
For relief from sunburn, add oatmeal to your bath. According to research, colloidal oatmeal helps dry, itchy skin by reducing irritation and inflammation as burns heal4.
Alternatively, you can process plain oats in your food processor and add them to your bath. Combine the oatmeal treatment with the cool bath water, and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. After that, use a fresh towel to pat your skin dry gently. Your skin will get much more irritated if you rub it to dry off.
An oatmeal bath will help the skin stay moisturized, and your skin may feel softer.
3. Use A Cold Compress
A cold compress can also lessen heat, discomfort, and swelling. Apply a soft towel-wrapped ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables to the burn. Never apply ice straight to the skin, which might lead to more harm. Use the cold compress multiple times daily for 10-15 minutes for rapid relief. It will minimize swelling, restrict blood vessels, and absorb some of the heat from your skin5.
4. Don't Exfoliate
Skin that has been sunburned is already inflamed, so try to avoid any items that could aggravate the condition. It includes exfoliating acids and scrubs. If you have a sunburn on your face, wait to use toners, exfoliating masks, acne treatments, or anti-aging products until it begins to recover. If you continue your routine after sun damage, you can develop a rash or blisters.
5. Apply Harmony's Plantain Salves
Harmony's plantain salve comprises three healthy natural components: plantains, olive oil, and beeswax. This salve has a long history in holistic medicine and is renowned for its extraordinary curative abilities. In addition to being acknowledged as a meal, plantains are renowned for their amazing properties as antibacterial, astringent, antiseptic, demulcent, hemostatic, and vulnerary.
It can be directly applied to sunburned skin. The natural ingredients used in harmony's plantain salve, which is handcrafted in the USA, ensure that everyone in the family can use it safely.
6. Use Aloe Vera
One of the finest treatments for sunburn is aloe vera. The chemicals in aloe vera have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action to relieve your sunburn6. It is occasionally referred to as the "burn plant" because it is a potent natural treatment for a severe burn. This cactus plant's internal gel soothes pain, promotes faster healing, moisturizes skin, and protects it from peeling.
The discomfort of a mild sunburn can be instantly and soothingly relieved by slicing off a portion of the plant and applying the gel straight to the skin, or you can buy pure aloe vera gel at your neighborhood pharmacy.
7. Apply Essential Oils
Essential oils can also be used to treat sunburn in addition to making your home smell nicer and reducing stress and anxiety. The two common favorites essential oils for sunburn treatment are:
- Peppermint Oil: It is a natural analgesic or pain reliever7. By giving out a cooling sensation, it also relieves burnt areas. As an added benefit, peppermint oil can aid in treating your post-sun headaches because it is good at reducing headache pain.
- Lavender Oil: It is another essential oil that is frequently used for sunburns. Redness and burn sting can both be lessened with its assistance. Its anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and antioxidant qualities make it the ideal choice to hasten to heal and help your body repair more quickly8.
However, before using any of these oils on your skin, mix them with a moisturizer like an aloe vera or a "carrier" oil like almond oil to ensure proper dilution.
8. Try Coconut Oil
Natural fats with moisturizing and antibacterial characteristics, like linoleic and lauric acids, are abundant in this multipurpose oil. To combat dryness and irritation, coconut oil can be applied to the skin as a moisturizer after the initial sunburn has subsided. It is crucial to maintain skin hydrated later on in the healing process9.
You can try applying coconut oil to sunburn, but not to a newly developed one. Use organic, cold-pressed coconut oil only once your burn has healed, and any blistering has receded. To ensure you won't experience any negative side effects, always test a small area of your skin first. If you have acne, avoid applying coconut oil on your skin as it might clog pores and cause breakouts.
9. Apply Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is an ingredient that has tannic acid. It is an anti-inflammatory astringent. When applied to the skin, it aids in wound healing and lessens swelling, making it the ideal remedy for sunburns. Witch hazel can also assist in lessening skin flaking and peeling10. Pour a few tablespoons of witch hazel into a dish and use cotton balls or a clean cloth to absorb it before using. Enjoy the immediate comfort by dabbing onto burned flesh. Apply it three or four times daily (or as necessary) to lessen discomfort and irritation.
10. Try Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar's acetic acid reduces pain, itchiness, and inflammation. Perfect for sunburns. Apple cider vinegar has astringent properties like witch hazel. Body tissues become smaller because of astringents, which reduce inflammation. Apple cider vinegar aids in healing by restoring pH equilibrium.
You can apply it by soaking cotton balls in apple cider vinegar before dabbing them on burns, just like witch hazel. A cup or so can also be added to a lukewarm bath, and you can soak there for a while.
11. Keep yourself hydrated
Your skin loses moisture when you get a sunburn. American Academy of Dermatology states, "a sunburn draws fluid to the skin's surface and pulls it away from the rest of the body11." Your skin needs the moisture it lost while you were in the sun to fight the effects of the sun's rays.
Your skin can become more hydrated by consuming lots of water and electrolytes. A painful sunburn should be enough to motivate you to start drinking your recommended eight glasses of water every day. You'll feel better if you consume more water. Dehydration combined with sunburn equals agony.
Take Hydration Foods
To treat sunburn quickly, you also need to consider some internal aid. To moisturize from the inside out, eat foods containing a lot of water—snack on citrus fruits that will help you heal, such as oranges and watermelons. Watermelons contain 92 percent water12. Additionally, consume a lot of electrolyte-rich liquids like coconut water. Avoid alcohol and sugary meals while recovering from sunburn since they might worsen inflammation and delay healing.
Areas damaged by the sun often have first-degree burns. To obtain a second or third-degree sunburn, you would need to be in the sun for considerably longer periods. These are far more severe. The second layer of skin, the epidermis, will be affected by second-degree sunburn. Usually, blistering develops on these tanned areas. A third-degree sunburn might kill your nerves because it can penetrate the fat beneath your skin. You might not, therefore, experience pain. Furthermore, you could be more vulnerable to dehydration, sepsis, or infection.
Second- or third-degree sunburn should not be treated at home by you or anyone you know. Seek quick medical attention for these kinds of sunburns as they are medical emergencies.
Tips For Preventing Sunburn
It's vital to understand how to treat sunburn. Even better is knowing how to prevent it. Sunburn is not only sore, but it also increases your risk of getting skin cancer and hastens the aging process. Here are a few tips for avoiding sunburns, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)13:
- Use sunscreen. Even on cloudy days, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15. Make sure to verify the expiration date before using it, and reapply at least every two hours.
- Try to stay away from the warmest time of the day. When the sun is up between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., UV radiation is at its strongest14.
- Opt for shade. During prolonged exposure to the sun, try to look for shade or create some of your own by carrying an umbrella.
- Put on sunglasses that can prevent UVB and UVA radiation. Sunglasses safeguard your eyes from UV rays and the skin around them.
- Put on a hat. A wide-brimmed hat can shield your face, ears, and neck from the sun's rays.
- Keep hydrated with non-alcoholic beverages, particularly water.
- Use UPF apparel. Wearing sunscreen on top of clothing that blocks the sun's rays can add another layer of defense15.
The Bottom Line
An excessive amount of UV exposure results in sunburn. There is no quick fix for sunburn. However, you might speed up your body's recovery by obtaining lots of sleep and utilizing the above-mentioned natural treatments while staying hydrated.
If you have a bad sunburn that is blistering or making you feel ill, see a doctor to determine whether you require additional medical care.
And keep in mind that avoiding sunburn is the simplest treatment approach.
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