Did you overdo it with the sunshine this weekend? We all know we should be slathering on the SPF when we spend the day outside in the sun. But mistakes happen, and sunburns are the result. According to the National Health Institute, 35% of adults in the United States have experienced a sunburn in the past year.
Factors such as how long you were in the sun, what time of day you were outside, and how sensitive your skin is, can lead to mild to severe sunburns. The Arizona sun is pretty much a constant throughout the year, and the summertime means heat and sun combine to really amp up the pain.
If you find yourself suffering the results of less than adequate sun protection, never fear, there are plenty of fast ways to ease your pain and heal your skin.
The number one rule of sunburns is prevention. The Specialist in Dermatology, a dermatology clinic located in Tucscon, states that you should be putting on a minimum of SPF 15 every day before leaving the house. If you're planning on being outside for longer, opt for a higher SPF for better protection.
Once you forget the SPF and incur the sun's wrath on your skin, there are a few ways to speed up the healing process of a sunburn.
Sunburns draw fluid from your body to the skin, hence the reason they can blister and swell. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends keeping hydrated after a burn. They state this can help your skin heal faster. Make sure to replenish your fluids and electrolytes after getting burned.
Aloe vera plants are plentiful in the Sonoran Desert. Maybe you even have some in your front yard. Grab an aloe plant and apply some of the gel to your burn. If you don't have sunburn-friendly landscaping, pick up a bottle of aloe vera gel. I recommend putting it in the fridge to give an even cooler effect when applying.
Additionally, take ibuprofen or an aspirin to help ease the pain and discomfort. You can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) too, but it doesn't have the anti-inflammatory properties of the first two pain killers. All of these over-the-counter pain killers can really help lower the pain you experience.
Combine these pain-relieving remedies with a cold compress of some sort to experience pain relief. Take a kitchen towel, run it under cold water and put it in the freezer for a few minutes, and apply to the affected areas. This can help the burning sensation to calm down.
Hit The Water
Jump in a cold pool, or take a cool shower. The cool water will give you some relief from the burn and can help decrease healing time. Instead of toweling off afterward, let your skin absorb the water. Apply a heavy body lotion to help seal in the moisture. This can have a two-fold benefit as your skin will be more hydrated, which in turn keeps it from peeling upon healing.
If the burn is more severe, you can opt for a cool bath with some oats and baking soda. These are found to have soothing properties and can help the healing kick in sooner. Some naturopathic clinics state that certain black teas, once cooled after brewing, can draw out the heat from the burn. Apply a cool tea bag of chamomile tea or black tea to soothe and heal the area.
Protect The Burn
As the area of burned skin heals, try to keep it covered and protected. A subsequent burn in the same area could lead to scarring, blisters, and longer healing times. Each subsequent burn can also raise the chances of skin cancer in the affected area. Wear loose, light-weight clothing that will let your skin breathe without restriction.
We love the sun in Arizona, which is a big part of why we live in our beautiful state. Prevention is definitely key when it comes to dealing with the constant sun. Avoid premature aging, skin damage, and even skin cancer by wearing SPF, hats, and being sun-aware when outdoors.