Treating That Nasty Sunburn

by Rachelle on May 22, 2015

You were out on the boat all day, without even a thought to apply sunscreen (or to reapply), and before you knew it, you were rewarded with a nasty sunburn. Or perhaps you were just working out in the yard for about an hour and it didn’t even cross your mind to put on sunscreen. Now you’re toasted.

SunburnNo matter how many times we’re told we should use sunscreen every day, sometimes we fail. And when that happens, and your skin is blazing red, you’ve got to treat it. Quickly. Sunburns may seem like just temporary discomfort. It looks bad, it hurts, it peels, but it can also cause long-lasting damage to the skin, such as wrinkles or even skin cancer. This is due to the sun directly damaging the DNA of skin cells.

Prevention is obviously the best method, to take measures that ensure your safety of sunburns, but we know this isn’t always thought of. If you quickly treat a sunburn, you may have a shot at minimizing the damage done to the cells. You want to help the skin repair itself as quickly as possible.

Here are the first steps you can do to prevent hours, even days of discomfort:

  1. Immediately shade yourself from further damage. If you feel the initial tingling of a burn or see any sign of skin reddening on yourself or your child, get out of the sun and start treatment! Sunburn tends to sneak up on us, as it can take 4-6 hours for the symptoms to develop. So a touch of redness at the beach could turn into a big problem later.
  2. Assess the damage. Most sunburns, even those that cause a few blisters, can be treated at home. But if a blistering burn covers 20% or more of the body (a child’s whole back), seek medical attention. Anyone with a sunburn who is suffering fevers and chills should also seek medical help.
  3. Treat the pain. For sunburns that you can treat on your own, over-the-counter painkillers can take the edge off. If the burn is not too bad, take an ibuprofen such as Advil, as this acts as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling and ease pain. If you also have a headache or mild chills, go with acetaminophen (Tylenol). Aloe also might be your best friend for the next day or so. Aloe is a cooling agent and an anti-inflammatory.
  4. Take a cool bath or shower. After a cool shower or bath, put on a moisturizing cream or lotion to soothe the skin. Repeat frequently to make peeling and flaking less noticeable. Consider using a product containing vitamin C and vitamin E, as it might help limit skin damage. It is also OK to use a hydrocortisone cream for a day or two to relieve discomfort. However, make sure that you refrain from scrubbing, picking or peeling your skin or breaking blisters.
  5. Drink plenty of water. Any burn draws fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body. So drink extra water, juice and sports drinks for a couple of days and watch for the signs of dehydration: dry mouth, thirst, reduced urination, headache, dizziness and sleepiness. Children are especially vulnerable, so check with a doctor if they appear sick.

Consider this burn a warning that your sun-safety net has failed and make changes for the future. That means using sunscreen, covering up with clothing and hats and avoiding the sun as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Rachelle

Rachelle

Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
Hi I'm Rachelle, or "Elle" for short. I am a busy body, but always been a plus sized kinda girl. I've learned that my curves are sexy, and I can feel good about how I look without looking like a stick! I'm a work-a-holic and stay as active as I can with lots of projects, so I have to prioritize my health choices. Working for Creative Bioscience has opened my eyes to what you can do to supplement your diet, and manage things in a natural way. The advances that are being made in the health arena are so exciting, and we are on the front lines bringing the best of the best. Rachelle's favorite product is hCG 1234
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