What is the Best Way to Treat Sunburn?
Dermatologists have spent considerable time and effort educating the public about the dangers of UV exposure, and millions of advertising dollars have been spent
in an effort to sell various brands of sunscreen. The good news is that the public is more aware than ever of the need for sun protection. But if despite your best efforts you come home with a burn, what then? There are a few things you can do to alleviate the pain of sunburn and treat your skin.
You may think you’ll know when you’ve been in the sun too long, but that is a common misconception. The skin typically reacts three to six hours after exposure, reaching its maximum reaction after 24 hours. If you are still in the sun when you realize you’re burned, you should find shade or cover up immediately, as you will continue to burn. Once indoors, check the severity of the burn. If there are any signs of blistering you should see a doctor. You might also require medical attention if you have a fever, which is an indication of heatstroke.
To relieve the pain, cool the skin with cold compresses, or a cool shower if you can stand it. Ibuprofen will help with the pain and inflammation, and drinking lots of water will keep you hydrated. Products containing aloe are also very soothing. For instant cooling and hydrating, try Evian Mineral Water Spray or Korres Aloe Vera After Sun Body Milk.
According to Zoe Draelos, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, sunburn literally cooks the protein in your skin. A washcloth soaked in cold skim milk will ease the initial sting of sunburn, and create a protein film that will alleviate the ensuing discomfort. Plain yogurt can also be used. After rinsing the milk or yogurt, be sure to apply a moisturizing lotion to keep your skin hydrated.
Good options include B. Kamins Revitalizing Booster Concentrate and Peter Thomas Roth Aloe-Cort Cream.
Avoiding sunburn in the first place is still the best solution, but if you do get burned, hydrating and moisturizing will speed your recovery.