Best Ways to Treat a Sunburn Jun 11, 2019 / by Complete Family Dermatology Team
Nobody likes to get a sunburn. Unfortunately, it’s a hazard of being outdoors when the sun is shining high in the sky. Sunburns can be uncomfortable. They can be hot, itchy, and painful. If you fell victim to sunburn, there are things you can do to get some relief.
Cool Down in Some Nearby Water
The first thing you should do after getting a sunburn is to try to cool down. You can try taking a dip in some cool water. This could be a pool, a lake, a river, or an ocean. Don’t stay in it too long, though. The sun can dry you up fast.
Get a Cold Compress
You can make your own old cold compress by placing a couple of ice cubes in a container of water. Once it’s chilled, you can place a cloth into the bowl to create a compress. Then put it on your skin and enjoy the instant relief you’ll be feeling. Make sure you never apply ice against your skin. It some cases, it can be more detrimental by causing injury to the skin.
Enjoy a Bath
You can get some relief for your sunburn by hopping into a nice cool bath or shower. You should strive for lukewarm water. Make sure you avoid using soap because this could further irritate or dry out your skin. Don’t take too long in the water either. This could also cause your skin to dry up. You can add some oatmeal or baking soda to the bath. This can be a great relief to the inflammation and the associated itching.
Make Sure to Moisturize
After you’re done with your cool shower or bath, towel dry using a gentle patting motion. This ensures that some of the water will remain on your skin. Then pick out a moisturizing cream –fragrant free – and cover yourself in it. Creams that have aloe vera in them are going to offer the best, most soothing effect. You can put the cream in your freezer right before you take your bath or shower. This will make for an extra cooling effect for your sensitive skin.
Don’t Mess With the Blisters
It’s very tempting to pop, pick at, or play with your blisters. You should avoid doing this, however. Instead, you should cover them up with a damp cloth and let them heal by themselves. Messing with them could cause more harm, such as an infection or scarring. If the blisters are already open, you can put on some antibiotic cream. If they become extremely painful, infected, or begin to ooze, you should consider seeing your doctor. This is especially important if you develop a noticeable fever or a sudden case of the chills.
Use a Medical Cream
Certain creams will work better than others. You should look for a hydrocortisone cream to help with the itchiness, redness, and swelling. Pick a low-dose cream that you can buy over-the-counter. Then follow the directions that are on the bottle.
Take an Anti-inflammatory Drug
You can also try anti-inflammatory drugs. These include ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. They can be great at reducing the swelling and inflammation caused by sunburn. You should take them once you start to notice the symptoms. They can also help with the associated pain. Make sure you’re following the directions for these medications as they can make for an upset stomach.
When you’re a victim of a bad sunburn, your body will begin pulling the fluids from your skin to best protect it. That means you can have an increased chance of dehydration. Make sure to add enough fluids to replace what you’ve lost. When in doubt, water is a great option for staying hydrated.
The Best Protection
The ultimate defense against a bad sunburn is avoiding getting one in the first place. There are many ways to do this, including avoiding the sun altogether by sticking to the shade! If that’s not an option, remember to cover up, to wear sunblock, and to reapply it often. Enjoy your time outdoors, but always keep your skin in mind.