Sunburn Pain? Try These 9 Natural Solutions
Sunburns happen. Even when you think you’ve applied (and reapplied) enough sunscreen to protect your delicate skin you can still end up looking like a lobster. Sunburns don’t just look unattractive. Where there’s a sunburn, there’s also sunburn pain.
Most people crave a little fun in the sun during the summer months. If you’re one of them, you’ve probably endured sunburn more than once. Luckily, there are natural sunburn pain solutions that can help take the sting and soreness out, while reducing the blistering that can happen after too much outdoor summer fun.
What is sunburn?
Sunburn is your skin’s reaction to damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Everyone reacts to the sun differently. You might burn within 10 minutes, while someone else can be out for hours before they suffer the ill effects of too much UV.
Redness is the first sign of sunburn. It happens when your blood vessels dilate, which is your body’s automatic response to recognizing the need for cell repair. After the redness, your skin begins to feel dry and tight because of moisture loss. Your skin cells then start to thicken to block UV rays from reaching the deeper layers of your tissue, where they can damage your skin cell DNA.
The final stage of sunburn happens when your skin begins to peel. It’s your body’s way of naturally ridding itself of sun-damaged skin cells at risk of becoming cancerous.
Is sun exposure always bad?
Sun exposure isn’t always a bad thing. There are numerous health benefits associated with daily exposure to the sun, including improved bone health. Healthcare experts have known for years that the sun plays a vital role in the body’s ability to process Vitamin D.
When sunlight hits your skin, it helps your body manufacture Vitamin D. Why is that important? Well, Vitamin D regulates calcium absorption. The more calcium your body can produce, the stronger your bones.
Other studies offer evidence that controlled sun exposure can lower blood pressure, lessen symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and even help suppress an overactive immune system.
Why all the warnings about the dangers of sun exposure?
Since not all sun exposure is bad for you, why are there so many warnings about it? Most people don’t limit their time outdoors to between 10 and 15 minutes, that’s why. And if they do stay outdoors longer than the recommended safe time, they don’t always wear good sunscreen.
Besides the obvious issue of sunburn, there are other negatives to overexposure to the sun.
- It can damage your retinas. Moreover, it contributes to the development of cataracts, which can affect your vision.
- It can trigger premature aging. Fine lines and wrinkles happen to all of us with age. Too much sun exposure can accelerate the aging process.
- It causes heat exhaustion. Overexposure to the sun can deplete your body of the water and salt levels it needs. When that happens, heat exhaustion kicks in, increasing your risk for a stroke.
- It can increase the risk of skin cancer. Repeated sunburns over your lifetime can increase your risk of developing skin cancer. The chances only increase as you age.
If you’re going to enjoy your time outdoors, you must commit to using high-quality sunscreen and following some other sun-safety practices to reap the benefits of the sun.
How do you choose the best sunblock?
Sunblock is a must when spending time outdoors. You should really apply it every day, especially to sensitive areas like your face and neck. And don’t forget to reapply it throughout the day to keep the protection active.
Since every person’s skin is different, you must find one that works best for you. Here are some tips to guide you toward the best choice.
Choose a sunscreen with a high enough SPF
Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of between 30 and 50. While sunscreens with higher SPFs exist, there’s no evidence they provide extra protection. You’re better off to reapply liberally (and often) than go with an SPF higher than 50.
Choose a sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection
You need a sunscreen that safeguards against UVA and UVB rays. Both can cause damage to your skin, albeit in different ways. UVA rays have a lower amount of energy and a longer wavelength, so they can penetrate through to the middle layer of your skin, called the dermis. UVB rays can only reach the surface of your skin, called the epidermis.
Choose a lotion or spray sunscreen
Lotions and sprays are best when choosing sunscreen. While sunscreen comes in powder and towelette form, they usually contain chemicals that are considered toxic and are linked to lung damage.
What are some all-natural sunburn pain solutions?
If sunburn leaves your skin severely blistered, you need to call your doctor. You could have sun poisoning and need medical intervention. For lesser degrees of sunburn, you may find the following all-natural solutions soothing.
Apply an herbal sunburn spray or gel
Applying an herbal sunburn spray or gel gives immediate relief to painful skin. Choose one with all-natural ingredients like clove, cucumber, licorice, and menthol for the best results. Menthol-based pain sprays are especially helpful because menthol relieves the sting and cools the skin to help it heal.
If you must shower or bathe, use a gentle cleansing gel instead of a harsh soap or body wash. The detergent and other ingredients in most commercial soap products can further irritate your sunburned skin.
Getting a sunburn dehydrates your skin, making it feel tight (and sometimes itchy). As part of the healing process, you must rehydrate your skin from the inside out. Drink at least one 8-ounce glass of water every hour to replace lost fluid.
Make friends with an aloe vera plant
Aloe vera plants are known for their healing properties. Keeping an aloe vera plant – or some all-natural aloe vera gel – in reach can help with sunburn relief. The thick juice inside the aloe vera plant’s leaves has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Slice one open and squeeze the sap right on the burns. It can speed healing and relieve discomfort.
Moisturize your skin
Hydrating from the inside is important, but you also can apply a moisturizing cream to the surface of your skin to restore moisture. Once your burn starts to subside, it’s important to moisturize the surface of the skin to nurture and protect new skin cell growth. Choose chemical-free products that include antioxidants and vitamins.
Slather on some yogurt
It may sound gross but slathering some plain yogurt on your skin can provide fast-acting relief for the pain. Yogurt is packed with enzymes and probiotics. Make sure you apply it with clean hands, then leave it on your skin for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with cool water.
Spritz with belladonna water
Add 50 drops of this homeopathic tincture to a cup of water, blend, and apply as a spray mist for fast, soothing relief. It’s safe to use frequently, so you can spritz yourself as often as you need to without worrying about side effects.
Take a cool bath or shower
Taking a cool bath or shower can lower your body temperature, helping sunburned skin feel better. Soaking in a tub of cool water also can tame inflammation in your skin from the sunburn. You can add a few drops of witch hazel for an extra cooling effect.
Use a cool compress
If your sunburn is localized instead of body-wide, you can use a cool compress to achieve the same results as a cool shower or bath. A cool compress allows you to achieve targeted pain relief. Just be careful not to make the compress too cold or you can further damage your skin.
Enjoy summer again with all-natural sunburn relief
You don’t have to avoid fun in the sun when you know how to protect your skin from sunburn. If the worst should happen and you end up a little crispy, try one of these 9 all-natural sunburn soothers to provide quick relief until your skin can heal.
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