Sunburn is what happens when your skin becomes damaged from too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.
To start with, the affected area is usually red and sore, but then it might peel or blister.
And it can be incredibly painful.
Have you recently been out in the sun and burned your skin unintentionally? If so, not to worry — we’ve all been there.
That said, here are 5 ways you can treat sunburn, minimise the pain and ultimately speed up your skin’s recovery.
1. Have a Cool Bath or Shower
First things first, you need to cool down your skin.
Apply a cold compress, such as a cold flannel, to the affected area. Alternatively, take a cool bath or shower.
Either way, the pain should start to subside immediately.
2. Use an Aloe Vera or Soy Moisturiser
After you’ve bathed in cool water, use a moisturiser or aftersun cream to help trap the water in your skin and ease dryness.
But don’t just use any moisturiser or aftersun cream.
Look for an option that contains aloe vera or soy. This will successfully soothe your skin and relieve the feeling of tightness.
Calamine lotion can also effectively relieve any itching or soreness.
Is one area particularly uncomfortable? In severe cases, apply a hydrocortisone cream that you can buy from a pharmacy directly without a prescription.
Having said that, whatever you do, avoid treating sunburn with products ending in “caine” (such as benzocaine).
Why? Well, these are notorious at irritating the skin further.
3. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking extra water can also help to cool you down and prevent dehydration.
After all, the normal water content in your body has been reduced and lost through sweating, so you need to replenish it.
Otherwise, this can lead to thirst and light-headedness.
Additionally, avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine temporarily because this will only dehydrate you more.
4. Take Painkillers to Reduce Discomfort
If your sunburn is especially painful, consider taking paracetamol or ibuprofen.
This will help to reduce any redness, swelling and discomfort while the skin is healing.
5. Use Burn Cream or Dressings
Lastly, most cases of sunburn can be managed at home.
However, more serious cases may require specific burn cream. Therefore, it’s important to ask your pharmacist for advice.
Your burns may also need to be dressed by a nurse at your doctor’s surgery.
Or, in extreme cases, you may require treatment at your local accident and emergency department.
Sunburn can be extremely uncomfortable and take time to heal.
As a result, you must take extra care to protect sunburned skin while it heals. Wear clothing that’s made from tightly-woven fabric and covers your skin when you’re outside.
Then, as a preventative measure in the future, wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every time you know you’re going to be in the sun.
As well as minimising the risk of sunburn, this will also reduce early signs of skin ageing. Win-win.
This is the fifth and final post in the “Summer Skin Care” blog series. We hope you enjoyed it!