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Sunburn Remedies

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Sunburn Remedies
Sunburn is the noticeable reaction of skin when it comes to contact with invisible rays known as ultraviolet rays that are part of sunlight. Look for ways to get relief from sunburn, be it lotions or natural remedies.

Known scientifically as 'actinic dermatitis', sunburn is the skin's response to the overexposure to UV radiation. It can be defined as the noticeable reaction of skin when it comes to contact with invisible rays known as ultraviolet rays that are part of sunlight.

The skin turns red and becomes hot and painful. Severe sunburn can cause swelling and blistering due to the burn to living tissue - the skin.

While dark skin helps protect your skin from such a reaction through a large amount of melanin which absorbs damaging solar radiation, fair skin contains a smaller amount of melanin and therefore burns more easily and is more susceptible to damage.

In other words, such sunburn causes injury to the skin with inflammation, tenderness following excessive exposure to the sunlight. This problem is commonly faced during the summer season. However, cold weather does not make one immune to bad sunburn as the sun reflecting off snow can cause burns on exposed skin.

If the skin has been burnt, it could take months to return to normal and sunburn is also linked with skin cancer later on in one's life.

Sunburn peeling skin

Probably, the signature symptom of sunburn is bright red skin that is painful to touch. Peeling after sunburn is probably the body's way of getting rid of damaged cells. This is necessary as cells damaged by the sun are at risk of 'losing control' and becoming cancer. The damaged cells commit a sort of suicide by repair mechanisms of these cells. After this, the layers of peeled skin are replaced by other cells underneath those layers. As the peeling skin heals, it may become itchy. It can take months for the skin to return to normal.

Sunburn remedies

  • Aloe Vera sunburn remedy is most popular of sunburn remedies. Take as many leaves as necessary from an aloe plant, refrigerate, peel off top layer of leaves and apply the side of the leaf with flesh exposed directly to the sunburn. Aloe can effectively relieve pain and inflammation. Keep the affected area moist with aloe vera juice and repeat this frequently to reduce pain and minimize the amount of peeling.

  • Aloe vera juice can be combined with vitamin E which is a good moisturizer for sunburn remedies.

  • A warm shower can draw out the heat of the sunburn. Warm water will increase circulation in the area while hydrating it thereby speeding up the healing process. The dry skin needs to be moisturized afterward.

  • Baking soda compress can be a good sunburn remedy. Since baking soda is cooling, it will help the skin retain moisture.

  • Apple cider vinegar can be applied to the sunburn with a cotton ball. This remedy will prevent blistering and peeling.

  • Aspirin kills the pain and it reduces inflammation and redness of sunburn. Aspirin is preferable to ibuprofen or acetaminophen as it is less stressful on the liver and kidneys.

  • Another great remedy is to add lavender and chamomile essential oils (each about 20 drops) to a tub of cool water and soak for 10 minutes.

  • About 20 drops of calendula tincture can be added in four ounces of bath water until the pain goes away. Calendula is available in gels and salves. Calendula will help soften and heal the burned skin. Since it is anti inflammatory and anti microbial, it can be used after the burn to heal the skin.

  • The sunburned area can be rubbed with fresh cucumber slices. This will make the skin smooth.

  • Dissolve Epsom salts in water and make a compress using a clean cloth.

  • Ice or cold water can be applied to the burned area. This will stop the burning process and cool the skin.

  • Lemon juice can be mixed with cold water and sponged on the sun burn. The lemon can cool the sunburn, act as a disinfectant and will promote healing of the skin.

  • A compress of whole milk or butter milk can be made and applied to the burned area for about 20 minutes. The whole procedure can be repeated every two to four hours. Another similar remedy is to use a cup of skim milk and four cups of water with few ice cubes as a compress. The fat content of the milk is soothing for burns.

  • Some oatmeal can be put in tepid bath water and after soaking for a few minutes, air dry yourself. This treatment is a powerful sunburn remedy.

  • Peppermint oil can be applied to sunburned skin. Mild peppermint infusion can be made and used in a wash to cool the sunburn.

  • Potato can be grated and applied to the burned area. The starch will cool and soothe the burn.

  • St Johns wort is an anti inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial. But this can make the skin more photosensitive and it is better to stay out of the sun if this remedy is being used.

  • Some cool tea can be applied to the burn. Mint tea such as peppermint or spearmint is especially good. The tannins in tea will help the healing process.

  • Pour 20 drops of urtica urens tincture in four ounces of water and bathe the skin. This remedy is good for itchy and prickly skin.

  • A decoction of witch hazel can be applied with a compress.

  • Apply plain yogurt with live cultures and let it stand for a few minutes and then rinse off under cool water.

  • As bad sunburn can cause fever and headache. Lie down in a cool and quiet room to relieve the headache. Replenish the body by drinking cool, non-caffeinated water-based beverage.

Never put butter on a burn. This is a bad idea and can lead to an infection if you have any kind of cut. Children and babies are particularly prone to bad sunburns and extra care should be taken to prevent and give treatment with due diligence.

Sun poisoning includes nausea, chills, fever, dizziness, rapid pulse among others. If the injured skin is widespread, it can lead to nausea and other signs of shock. Sunburn, like any other burn is categorized in degrees 1-2-3 for severity. Serious and extensive cases should be seen by a physician.

Sunburn lotion

Sunscreen is widely agreed to prevent sunburn. However, some scientists argue that it may not effectively protect against malignant melanoma - which can be caused by a different part of the ultraviolet spectrum. But it is not advised to use cream on children younger than age 2 unless the doctor suggests so.

Make your own homemade sunburn lotion and creams. These homemade products are natural, inexpensive and are effective. Methods to prepare your own all-natural sunburn remedies:

Cucumber sunburn lotion

1 cucumber
¼ cup glycerin
¼ cup rose water

Chop the cucumber and squeeze out the cucumber juice with a lemon squeezer and mix it with glycerin and rose water.

Sunburn lotion

Non medicated lotion 240 ml
Clove oil 5 drops
Peppermint oil 5 drops
Powdered comfrey root 2-4 teaspoons
Aloe vera gel 2-4 tablespoons

Mix all ingredients to be mixed together in a bowl and chill. The amount of comfrey roots or aloe vera can be increased but not clove or peppermint as it can cause skin irritation.

Sunburn blister treatment

  • Sun blisters are areas of raised skin that contain fluid and may develop several hours after the initial prolonged sun exposure. Sun blisters cannot be taken lightly and studies point out that it is five times more susceptible to skin cancer.

  • The risk of having skin cancer doubles if you have suffered from severe sunburn blister during childhood or adolescence.

  • Prevention is easier than treatment especially in case of sunburn blister.

Treating sunburn blisters

  • Do not touch or pop blister. This will lengthen the healing process.

  • Two tablespoons of salt can be added to cool water. Soak a few gauze strips in the solution and apply it to the affected areas for around half an hour daily.

  • If the blister ruptures, apply a topical antibiotic like polysporin to minimize the risk of infection.

  • In case if pus, lymph nodes or fever develops, consult a doctor.

  • A traditional treatment for sunburn blister is to use sandalwood paste or powder in raw milk. This is a mild antiseptic and also soothes the burning sensation of sunburn.

  • Use high SPF lotion when exposed to sun.

  • Drink some water or lemon juice before getting out in the sun to prevent dehydration.

Small unbroken blisters less than an inch wide usually heal on their own in most cases. It is imperative not to break blisters. Just leave them alone and do not cover them unless some clothing is rubbing against them.

It is better to use a loose bandage to cover them and also to secure the bandage with a tape that does not touch the blisters.

If the blister is large and needs draining, it is essential that the hands are cleaned before touching the blister as they can be infected easily. To drain the blister, use a sterilized needle to gently puncture the edge of the blister. The fluid in the blister should be pressed toward the hole made. The blister has to be washed after it is drained and patted dry with clean gauze.

An antibiotic ointment can be used to undermine the possibility of the bandage sticking to the blister and softly flatten it. Alcohol and iodine are not recommended treatments. The bandage needs to be changed each time it gets wet or dirty.

Prevent sunburn

Do not stay out long between 10 am and 4 pm. This is when the sun's rays are the strongest.

Wear protective clothing such as cover ups, long loose fitting pants, and tops and wide brimmed hats. Opt for lightweight fabrics that are cool and which will give sun protection.

Do not forget sunglasses, as eyes can get sunburn too. And above all, the simple way to avoid sunburn is to go in a shaded area. If the shaded areas such as a tree are not available, use an umbrella.

After severe sun burn, you may even develop vision problems that continue even after you get out of the sun. Other complications include fever that is not quickly reduced by home treatment, dehydration that develops from being unable to drink enough to replace the lost fluids, signs of skin infection such as blisters, or any other alarming symptom.

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