Beauty How-To: Soothe a Sunburn
Posted by Cat Meeker on June 11, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Listen, nearly three-fourths of adults under 30 still think lying out in the sun is healthy, according to a nationwide survey from the American Academy of Dermatology. And while the sun’s rays do contain mood-boosting vitamin D, they also contain UVA and UVB rays that literally char your skin cells, mutating their DNA and giving skin cancer a pretty good jumpstart. This is not ok, ladies. You can get enough vitamin D from a 15 minute walk at lunchtime. There’s no need to spend hours outside.
You can’t reverse sun damage, but you can help minimize it. And sometimes—even if you don’t mean to—you end up overdoing it on a sunny day, leaving the beach looking like a tomato. Here are four ways to soothe your sunburn and send pain packing.
1. Pop Pills
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds that reduce skin inflammation and the chance of serious cell damage can go a long way to ease that regret-inducing pain. The sooner you take it, the sooner it starts working. Your best bet is Aleve: it’s the most effective med at fighting inflammation, and its effects tend to last longer. Ibuprofen and aspirin are fine choices, too, but both work more to relieve pain than inflammation itself.
2. Guzzle Water
The sun sucks the hydration out of your entire body—skin included. Bring water with you and drink it while you’re exposed. Then, continue to drink as much as necessary after you notice the burn, even if you’re not thirsty. H2O should do the trick, but if you’ve spent the entire day in the sun, consider a low-cal sports drink to replace the electrolytes your entire body needs.
3. Cool Down
Take a cold shower. If you’ve ever been burnt and tried a warm one, you know how crappy that feels. Ouch. Cool water will soothe your skin while helping to remove any chlorine or salt residue. While chlorine removes skin’s natural oils, salt actually attaches to cells, draws out their moisture, and kills them—and both equal dryness.
4. Rub It In
All lotions are not created equal. Look for a lotion that contains aloe vera—it will vent some of the retained heat and lessen thermal injury. My favorite is Banana Boat’s Aloe After Sun Lotion. It is incredibly moisturizing and actually helps to extend your tan (which is probably why you were out there in the first place).
Do you have any proven sunburn soothers? Share your tricks in the comments!