12+ Ways To Protect and Heal Your Skin From The Sun

by Michelle on June 21, 2018

With the sun beating down on your everyday learning how to protect and heal your skin from the sun will help your skin stay healthy and happy this summer!

Summer is a time to enjoy the outdoors and all of the fun activities the warmer weather allows.  However, with the great weather comes the necessary precautions of avoiding sunburn, preventing heat exhaustion, and general Summer safety.  With a little bit of knowledge and due diligence, you can hopefully enjoy all Summer has to offer without suffering from any negative effects.

It seems pretty obvious that sunscreen is necessary when outside, but far too often people underestimate their risk in different situations.  For example, the sun is more intense and can burn you more quickly in the mountains due to your sheer proximity to it as well as burning you more on the water (the reflection of rays and all).  Here are 5 ways to protect yourself:

  1. Wear sunscreen every day, in all weather, and in every season.  It should be at least a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 and say “broad-spectrum” on the label…meaning it protects against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.  Apply at least 15 minutes prior to going outside.
  2. Reapply sunscreen at least every 60 minutes; more often if you’re sweating or swimming.
  3. Wear wide-brimmed hats and long sleeve shirts and pants for the best coverage.
  4. Use sunglasses with total UV protection to protect your eyes from getting burned…yes, this is a thing!
  5. Avoid being out in the sun as much as possible from 10 am – 2 pm (the hottest part of the day when the sun is the most intense and likely to burn you).

Now if you have tried your best and still end up sunburned, there are some easy ways to treat your burn:

  1. Take a cool bath without soap or bubbles.  Adding baking soda (and air drying) helps relieve inflammation and itching.  You can also add apple cider or white vinegar as well (about 1 cup) since it’s a great astringent and soothes sunburn pain.
  2. Apply a “watery” type of moisturizer (not a heavy cream) to relieve the dryness.  Eucerin is a good example.
  3. Apply an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas) wrapped in a damp cloth to your burned areas.  This will absorb some of the heat from your skin, constrict blood vessels, and reduce swelling.
  4. Hydrate from the inside out…with water AND food!  Think watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe.
  5. Try applying black tea bags to your face, eyelids, etc. for relief (soak in hot water, let cool, and apply).  You can also soak a clean cloth in milk with water and ice cubes and apply as a compress, mix cornstarch with water to make a paste, or apply plain yogurt to the burned areas then rinse off after a few minutes.  All of these items help to reduce the inflammation caused by the sunburn as well as ease the pain.
  6. Use Aloe Vera gel (directly from the plant is best) to soothe burned skin and help it to heal quickly.
  7. Resist the urge to peel!  Let the body keep its protective layer as long as possible to avoid any type of infection peeling might cause.
  8. Know when to call a doctor.  Some sunburns are just too severe to be treated at home so watch for the signs that signal it’s beyond your remedy:  nausea, chills, fever, faintness, extensive blistering, general weakness, patches of purple discoloration, or intense itching.  Also, be aware of the burn seems to be spreading…it could be infected.

You also need to be aware of any of the medications you might be taking make you more photosensitive (causing a severe reaction to UV rays).  Certain medications like antibiotics, tranquilizers, and antifungals can increase your sensitivity to the sun causing you to burn more quickly.  Oral contraceptives, diuretics, diabetes medications, and even PABA-containing sunscreens may also increase your sunburn risk. So the takeaway is…have fun in the sun but be aware of your personal situation and arm yourself with the knowledge that will allow you to enjoy the day without having to pay for it later.

 

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