So you just got back from a 3-day music festival or a weekend beach trip. But instead of coming home with a ‘fresh-from-Bahamas’ glow, you’re left with lobster-red skin and painful peeling. Perhaps you doused yourself in sunscreen before stepping outside, but forgot to re-apply. Or maybe you ditched SPF altogether (tsk, tsk). Either way, it’s time to channel all your skincare efforts into treating and healing that sunburn.
But first, how does sunburn occur? You know it happens when you skip SPF while under the sun for a prolonged period, and that is what allows the sun’s UVB rays to enter your skin and cause DNA damage. As a result, your body attempts to defend itself — manifesting in pain, peeling, itchiness, and redness.
Does this sound like you? Here are five effective tips you can try now.
Cool down your body and skin
First things first, get out of the sun and cool down. Take a cool shower for instant sunburn relief. Avoid warm water because this will hurt your already inflamed and stressed skin. You may even soak your skin in milk with a washcloth, so your sunburn can absorb its vitamins and antioxidants to accelerate healing. And don’t forget to drink lots of water too. This will re-hydrate your body from inside and out.
Resist the urge to pick your skin
It’s tempting to pick on peeling, flaky skin. But this won’t do your sunburn any favors, because the peeling means that your body is working to replace its damaged skin cells. Allow your skin to undergo the healing process naturally, and this goes for sunburn blisters too. Don’t pop them, or you risk getting an infection.
Focus on skin-soothing products
Aloe vera is the popular vote when it comes to sunburn treatment, and for good reason. Throughout history, this succulent plant has been known for its ability to treat various skin conditions such as rashes, burns, and psoriasis. It’s effective because it can reduce inflammation, thereby relieving pain and redness. Plus, aloe vera can even boost collagen production, which can speed up healing. If pure aloe vera is not accessible to you, you can also opt for other soothing ingredients, such as cucumber or honey. Hold off on harsh chemicals and exfoliants for now while your skin gets extra TLC.
Rest and allow your body to heal
A good night’s sleep strengthens your body’s ability to defend itself against sun damage. Research shows that without sufficient sleep, you disrupt your body’s production of some cytokines, AKA proteins that help your immune system do its job. So while you slather on aloe vera and deal with sunburn peeling, remember that you also need to rest lots and take it easy.
Wear SPF (even more)
Now is not the time to get lazy with sunscreen use. While you’re healing, take extra, extra care to protect your delicate, sunburnt skin. You may choose formulas with soothing ingredients, like our Rose From Above SPF35 Mineral Sunscreen. As it’s a mineral SPF, it’s gentle and perfect for sensitive skin. For your body, choose a formula that also hydrates, since sun damage tends to dry your skin out. Our Oh My Bod! SPF50 Sunscreen Lotion is ideal for this, thanks to its hyaluronic acid and calming cucumber. Your sun protection shouldn’t stop there. If possible, wear clothing that covers your skin if you need to be outdoors for long.
Sunburn might seem like a temporary pain that’s worth paying the price for some fun in the sun. But sunburn can actually cause long-lasting damage to your skin and increase your risk of getting skin cancer. You may know how to heal sunburn, but save yourself the agony and commit to wearing sunscreen instead. Not only will it keep sunburn at bay, but it will also help prevent other kinds of sun damage, including premature aging, melanoma, and more.