Awkward tan lines, peeling skin, itching like crazy; sunburn is the absolute worst! I recently got the most terrible sunburn of my life (see it here: terrible sunburn), and got a lot of different tips from people on how to cure and relieve it quickly. With the summer season approaching, the sun beaming down on us harder and harder, and everyone trying to achieve their best tan, I thought I would share a few quick tips on how to deal with and prevent sunburn.
1. Aloe Vera
I figured I would start with the most obvious tip first. Aloe vera is a miracle worker. I never really bought into the aloe craze when it came to sunburn because I used it for a sunburn I had a while ago and it didn’t really seem to help. This time around though, aloe vera was like a gift from the terrible yet merciful sunburn gods. To get the best results you should try to find an actual aloe vera plant, break it open, and apply the natural gel to your skin. If this isn’t an option though (who randomly has aloe vera just growing freely in their back yard?), then try to get your hands on the most natural product available. Luckily when I got sunburned, the resort I was staying out was actually handing out all natural aloe vera gel (they saw this coming). The gel offers instant relief as it cools and soothes your skin, but it’s also very moisturizing and can help to heal your burn more quickly and can even prevent peeling.
Hydrating is an absolute must when it comes to sunburn. Drinking lots of water will help to keep your skin pretty moisturized which ultimately helps your sunburn to heal faster. If you get dehydrated, your skin will only dry up faster leading to plenty of itching and consequences for your skin.
3. Use a cooling lotion
I recommend using a lotion with natural ingredients such as cucumber in addition to applying aloe vera to your skin. It’s an extra way to get some added moisture to your skin as well as help you cool down and soothe your skin. Not to mention that cucumber lotion smells amazing.
4. Avoid additional sun exposure
Now that your skin is burned, it’s best to avoid more exposure to the sun as this will only worsen your sunburn and could even create other potential problems (like sun poising – yikes!). If you absolutely can’t avoid going outside again, make sure you cover up the areas that are burned by wearing a long-sleeved shirt, staying under an umbrella (if you’re outside for long periods of time such as laying out at the beach), wearing a sunhat and sunglasses, and anything else that will help keep the burned areas covered. You might not look as cute, but your skin will forever thank you.
5. Take a cool bath with these ingredients
Add a cup of vinegar or apple cider vinegar which promotes healing of sunburned skin (I have no idea why or how).
You can also try taking an oatmeal bath (this especially helps itchy sunburned skin), adding lavender and chamomile which help to soothe pain, and adding 2 cups of baking soda to calm down redness and irritation from your sunburn.
It’s important that you make the water cool and not very cold or very hot as this will only further irritate your skin. Even if you take a shower, make sure you follow this rule (trust me hot water will make you wanna die and cry out in pain).
6. Try applying potatoes to the skin
Now this is a weird one – but apparently it helps if you boil and mash some peeled potatoes, let them cool, and apply them as a paste to your skin. It is believed that the starch in potatoes helps draw out the heat which can speed the healing process and significantly reduce the pain. It’s worth a try!
7. Use yogurt or milk to soothe pain
Apparently if you apply a natural yogurt or cloth-soaked milk to your skin it is really heeling and an instant pain-reliever. Who knew?
This is a no-brainer but I wanted to end with it because it is SO important. Use a sunscreen with a very high SPF daily even if you’re not going to be in the sun for very long. If you are going to be in the sun for a long time, reapply! It’s so important to take care of your skin and do everything you can to prevent sunburn or damage.
If you have any additional tips or have tried any of these let me know in the comments below.