We’ve all been there. You’re chasing the perfect tan to flex on every other guy and gal during the summer, but instead, you’re left with a crimson glow. Few things are as annoying and irritable as a sunburn. But thankfully, there are ways to ease the pain. We’ve put together the best tips and tricks to help you alleviate that sting and get back to the beach!
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Once You Realize You Have A Burn
Like many other ailments, time is of the essence when relieving sunburn pain. The quicker you can figure out you’re toasted, the more time you have to heal the damage.
Get Out of the Sun
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Step one may seem obvious, but few people actually do it. Once you realize your skin has burned, get out of the sun! Even if you’re having the most romantic day on the beach with your favorite person, you’ll regret letting yourself roast. Get inside or under cover from the sun so your skin can stop burning and start recovering.
Go Refresh Yourself
Your skin may not be tingling and hurting yet, but boy, it will soon. Grab a cold compress or pour yourself a cool bath to soothe your precious skin. However, avoid using soap in this bath. Yes, that sounds silly, but soap will only dry out your skin and make the pain worse. Instead, add a cup of baking soda to the bath. This will help cool you down and get your skin ready to recover. You can also soak a compress in chamomile tea for a natural coolant.
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One of the biggest dangers of sunburn, besides skin cancer, is dehydration. You should always be drinking water, but drink even more once you realize you’ve been scorched. This will help keep your body in balance. If you feel signs of dehydration, like dizziness, urinating less than normal or a noticeably dry mouth, call a doctor immediately. Dehydration is a serious affliction and not something to play games with.
Recovering from the Redness
The recovery process is a tough one. In the days following your burn, showers and clothes will be pretty painful. Although there’s unfortunately no cure-all for a sunburn, there are thankfully some great ways to reduce the pain in the days you’re recovering.
Yes it’s painful, yes it’s gonna fall off anyway, yes you might enjoy peeling it off (admit it), but picking and peeling at your burn will only increase irritation. Your body knows how to replenish and heal; let it do it’s thing.
Lather Up the Lotion
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Tried and true, aloe vera is a great place to start. However, be sure to avoid any burn blisters when applying any of these lotions; this will only irritate them, and cause damage. Other topicals you can use include menthol and camphor. Refrigerate creams first for an added cool sensation that will feel great on your sensitive skin.
The lotions to strictly avoid include benzocaine and lidocaine. Sure your parents may have used these when you were younger, but these can irritate the skin or even cause allergic reactions.
If you really need them, medications can relieve the pain for a sunburn. A topical steroid can help when applied to the burn area, but do your research; ask your doctor and make sure it’s okay for you (as you should with any medication). Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can also help to relieve pain. Again, make sure it’s right for you.
When to Raise the Alarm
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Although sunburns are typically just an annoyance, there are times that you can be at serious risk. If you ever feel nauseous, have chills, get a fever, feel symptoms of dehydration (as discussed earlier) or have blisters on over 20% of your body, go the hospital. Don’t wait, you could have a serious ailment like sun poisoning and it’s best not to take the risk.
But Most Importantly…
Next time you go to the beach, use sunscreen! If you’re going to get burned, at least learn your lesson from it for next time. Plus, repeat damage can open you up for even worse consequences in the future, like skin cancer.
Enjoy your summer, but stay safe out there!
If you’ve gotten a sunburn while tanning, it might be time to try a self-tanner. Here’s our recommended list.