Summertime means sunshine, vacations, care-free weekends, spending time outdoors with friends - and it means sunburn. People sunburn from either not wearing sunscreen, not applying enough sunscreen, or not reapplying sunscreen on a regular basis. While there's no quick-fix to treating your burn, there are ways to cool the skin and ease the inflammation and discomfort associated with looking like a lobster.
The obvious? Stay out of the sun and drinks lots of water. Burned skin cannot repair itself if it's still being damaged.
Keep skin cool with a cool to lukewarm water bath or cold compresses gently placed on the skin. For a more soothing variation, try adding a few cups of cool (not cold) milk to your compress or bath. The milk proteins create a thin film on the skin to relieve inflammation, the pain-causing component of sunburn.
Moisturize, but be careful as to not over-moisturize your skin. Moisturizers can be thick and heavy, trapping in the heat, worsening the condition. Try a light-weight gel moisturizer. Our VP swears that Korres Yoghurt Cooling Gel once saved her from a summer of pain while in Greece. It provides instant relief with moisturizers and extracts for the skin. For added relief, store this in the refrigerator for extra coolness. If you'd like to go the traditional route of using store-bought aloe, make sure that you're using purchasing pure aloe - many kinds at the store only contain a fraction of the aloe needed to provide any real relief.
Need something a little more instantly than running to the store for a product? Use Korre's inspiration and apply cold yogurt to the affected areas. A thick, plain yogurt works best. Leave it on for fifteen to twenty minutes before gently rinsing off and reapplying.
It's tempting to let Aunt Peggy pick at the peeling skin or to pop the blisters, but your safest bet is to be patient and let everything heal on its own. Focus on relieving the heat and redness, and the healing will come naturally.
The best treatment yet? Prevention.
Apply sunscreen generously and regularly. A typical adult should use one ounce, or a shot glass full, of sunscreen to protect exposed areas of the body. Adequate application before you go into the sun will give you about two hours of protection before you need to reapply - but more often if you've been swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Also, select a sunscreen that offers UVA protection in addition to UVB - look for zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or avobenzone. EVMAN's Moisture Protect SPF 20 is a great matte-finish moisturizer that protects you from the sun without looking greasy.