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Say goodbye to sunburn

Summertime brings sunshine and outdoor adventures, but sometimes those delightful rays can leave us with an uncomfortable souvenir: sunburn.  

If you find yourself with tender, red skin after a day in the sun, don't fret! This article will guide you through effective remedies to alleviate sunburn and restore your skin's natural radiance. 

Sunburn remedies

  1. Cool compresses: Begin by gently applying a cool compress to the affected areas. This helps reduce inflammation and provides instant relief. You can use a clean cloth soaked in cold water or a store-bought cold pack wrapped in a thin towel. Avoid using ice directly on your skin, as it can further damage the delicate sunburned tissue. 
  2. Aloe vera: Known for its soothing properties, aloe vera is a sunburn superhero. Apply pure aloe vera gel directly to the affected areas to moisturize and calm the skin. For an extra cooling effect, store the gel in the refrigerator before application. Repeat several times a day for maximum benefits. 
  3. Hydration: Sunburn draws moisture away from your skin, so it's essential to hydrate both internally and externally. Drink plenty of water to rehydrate your body and promote healing. Additionally, use a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer to lock in moisture and prevent peeling. 
  1. Oatmeal baths: Soaking in an oatmeal bath can provide significant relief from sunburn discomfort. Grind plain, unflavored oatmeal into a fine powder and add it to lukewarm bathwater. Immerse yourself for 15-20 minutes, gently pat your skin dry afterward, and avoid rubbing. 
  2. Over-the-counter pain relief: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help reduce inflammation and alleviate sunburn-related pain. Follow the recommended dosage instructions and consult a healthcare professional if needed. 
  3. Natural remedies: Several natural ingredients possess anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Try applying cooled chamomile tea bags, cucumber slices, or pure coconut oil to your sunburned skin. These remedies can help soothe and moisturize, promoting faster recovery. 
  4. Sunburn care: While treating your sunburn, it's crucial to protect your skin from further damage. Avoid direct sun exposure, especially during peak hours. Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing that covers the affected areas and apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF when venturing outdoors. 

Prevention is best

Remember, prevention is the best defense against sunburn. Always apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 before going outside, and reapply every two hours. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to shield your face and eyes from harmful UV rays. 

Seek medical attention for severe burns

If your sunburn is severe, accompanied by blisters, or shows signs of infection, seek medical attention promptly. Your healthcare provider can provide personalized advice and recommend appropriate treatment. 

Always take a proactive approach when it comes to the health of you and your family and schedule an appointment with your primary care physician if needed. If you need a doctor, TidalHealth has providers located near you.
Profile picture for user Dr. Scott Sweeney
Sweeney, DO
Contributing Author
& Article Expert
Dr. Scott Sweeney earned his medical degree from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., completed his residency at Georgetown University in Washington, DC., and now cares for patients ...

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