Prevent And Treat Sunburns

Once summer arrives and it is only natural to drop everything to enjoy the sun for as long as we can. Almost everyone enjoys the warmth of the sun on their skin and in the heat of the moment, you can quickly forget that your skin is a delicate organ that cooks like bacon in the sun. Rather than hide away and miss summer by staying indoors there are precautions you take to make sure you stay healthy, don’t burn or have your summer look is ruined by bright red tan lines. Since the last thing you need on a holiday is to be burnt to a painful crisp that leaves you sore and screaming at the slightest touch, here are some useful things to know about how to prevent sunburn.

a happy couple at the beach

1. Use Sunscreen

No matter how much you stick to the shade it is impossible to avoid the sun when you are out and about during the day. To avoid sunburn and tanning your only option is to use sunscreen or stay inside. Usually, SPF 15 to SPF 50 sunscreen is used but an even higher SPF is better protection scorching sunbeams on very hot days or if you plan on spending time on the water.

Apply a layer of sunscreen to your face and body about half an hour before going out to allow it to be properly absorbed. Repeat the application every two hours or so if you are staying out in direct sun. Although there are water-resistant sunscreens applying sunscreen is a must to avoid the double hit from reflected UV rays bouncing up off the water.

2. Opt For Loose Clothing

Summers call for light and loose-fitting clothes regardless of the occasion. Whether you are on your way to work or attending a formal lunch or just enjoying hanging out with friends, you will be more comfortable and cool in loose-fitting clothes that allow air to circulate around your body. Such clothes protect your skin and allow your body to regulate its own temperature using sweating and evaporation.

man wearing loose clothes at the beach

3. Avoid Going Out At Peak Hours

The sun is in its peak from noon until late afternoon and so is the risk of sunburn. Due to UV rays, it is sufficient to give unprotected skin 2nd-degree burns. It is not a good idea to be out unnecessarily during these hours and if you can, you should plan your daily routines accordingly. If you do need to go out, take extra precautions. As well as making sure you put on a sunscreen with good UV protection, wear a hat and carry water bottle to stay hydrated.

4. Cover Your Eyes And Head

Your eyes and head are at the greatest risk from scorching sun rays. The scalp is not protected by hair so it is necessary to take extra precautions. Wear a lightweight breathable cap that can act as a barrier between the sun and your head and shade your eyes. This is especially important for babies and young children who have delicate skin that burns very easily even on moderately sunny days.

Your eyes are the most fragile part of your body and eyelids and eyelashes alone do not protect them from hazardous glare of UV rays. So, always wear good quality sunglasses the moment you step outdoors to ensure their safety and protection.

a couple wearing sunhats

5. Never Use Sun Tanning Oil

Tanning oil is hazardous for skin and does not provide any protection against sunburn just the opposite. A tanning oil is designed to promote burning just the same as the fat in bacon helps it brown. Sunscreen is the only protective layer that protects your skin from sunburn. Regular use of tanning oil can lead to all sorts of health issues especially skin diseases and cancers.

6.Consume Omega-3

The omega-3 fatty acid has numerous health benefits. It is a powerful immunity booster and can help reduce the adverse effects of high UV rays on your body’s immune system. It is naturally found in fish, olive oil and salmon and is beneficial not only for skin but also for healthy brain development. You can also take fish oil or other omega-3 supplements to get its desired daily dosage.

salmon dish

7. Consume Antioxidants

Sun rays not only burn skin but also weaken the immune system. Antioxidants are well known for reducing aging effects but they are also beneficial for boosting immunity. Fresh fruits and vegetables,  such as cherries, blackberries, kale, and spinach are the great sources of antioxidants. Include fresh and nutritious fruits and vegetables in your diet to stay healthy and fit in all circumstances.

8. Smart Bracelet

If you are truly conscious about your health than the smart bracelet is for you. Invest in a good quality smart bracelet that will alert you to unexpected hot weather and also guide you on how to stay safe. It will notify you about the current UV levels and remind you to apply sunscreen periodically. You can connect your smart bracelet with your iPhone to maximize its benefits.

a surfer at the beach

Treating Sunburn

If you have developed sunburn than get indoors as soon as possible and use these tricks and tips to soothe your skin and minimize the impact of sunburn.

  • Cool your skin with a lukewarm shower or bath not cold it can cause shock and cardiac arrest. Don’t dry your body off  afterwards but let the water evaporate from your skin to cool you down naturally.
  • Soothe your skin with a cold towel massage for 10 to 15 minutes. This will help heat further dissipate from the skin to cool down your body.
  • Apply an aftersun moisturizer two or three times daily for the next week or so to rehydrate skin and add provide it with healing nutrients.
  • Aloe Vera is your best friend for sunburned skin. It helps reduce the burn of tanning and soothes the itching. Either use Aloe Vera gels or lotions or opt for ice cubes of raw aloe vera gel.
  • Avoid using any lotions or creams containing petroleum as it seals the heat in the skin and will only worsen the symptoms.
  • Also, avoid creams with benzocaine or lidocaine as they are more likely to increase skin irritation.
  • You can take ibuprofen to ease the pain and reduce the swelling associated with sunburn.
  • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water and taking other fluids. Hydration is necessary to ease the pain and reduce dryness caused by sunburn but also cools the body internally.
  • If you have a second degree burn you are likely to develop blisters on your skin. They are irritating but never pop them and leave them on their own since this it leaves the skin open to bacterial infection when it is at its most vulnerable.
  • Consult a doctor if you start to feel dizzy or weak or if there is a pain in your stomach soon after the sunburn. These are signs that your core temperature is too high and you have sunstroke. It can be life-threatening so take the symptoms seriously.
  • Cover your sunburnt skin properly while going outdoors with a tightly woven light-colored loose fitting fabric to aid healing.

Natural Therapies For Sunburn

Here are some natural therapies for soothing and healing sunburn:

  • Mix one cup apple cider vinegar to your bath to balance out the PH of your skin.
  • For reducing itchiness, soak your skin in an oatmeal bath.
  • To reduce redness and discomfort add 2 cups of baking soda to the water while bathing.
  • Avoid using soaps and perfumes on the affected skin.
  • Apply essential oils to soothe the skin.
  • Apply freshly brewed tea after it has cooled to sunburned skin with the help of a clean cloth. This will help in excreting heat from the skin and also assist in maintaining the pH of the skin.
  • You can also apply water-soaked tea bags for soothing sunburn eyes.
  • Natural yogurt can be used as an aftersun lotion. Just smoother it on to soothe and cool the skin.

Sunburn is nasty and painful and it can ruin a holiday leaving you tired and irritable. Not exactly what you are planning as the outcome for some quality time in the sun. But, as usual, preparation along with not underestimating the risks means it is totally preventable. This is one of the times when you get what you pay for, so invest in a quality high factor sunscreen and aftersun lotion and of course, buy yourself a trendy sun cap and sunglasses. You still want to look good. And, if you want to err on the side of caution, not a bad idea when you are battling the sun, stock up on aloe vera, baking soda or cider vinegar ready for your cool-down bath.