Sunburn Care Jul 16, 2019 / by Complete Family Dermatology Team
Summer is approaching, and that means that you will be spending a lot more time outside. After a long, dark winter, it’s no wonder that everyone wants to enjoy the fresh air, heat, and sunshine. But spending time outdoors during the summer also means you may be at a higher risk for sunburn.
It is extremely important to avoid sunburn as much as possible by wearing the appropriate sunblock. Sunburn can increase your risk of certain skin cancers, so it is better to avoid it whenever you can. Wear a “broad-spectrum” sunblock with an SPF of at least 30. Also, wear hats and use sunshades whenever you can.
However, sometimes sunburn happens no matter what precautions you take. So, what are the best ways that you should take care of your skin after you have been sunburned?
Start Treating Immediately
One of the best ways to get fast healing and relief from sunburn is to make sure you start treating as soon as you notice it. One of the first steps you should take is simple: get out of the sun. More exposure to heat and UV rays can make your sunburn worse and puts you at risk of becoming sun-sick. Ideally, you should get indoors, where you will be protected from harmful light rays and can start treating your sunburn right away.
Apply Water to Your Skin
Keep sunburned skin moisturized with cool water is one of the best ways to help draw the heat out of your skin. You can do this by taking cool showers or baths or, more simply, by applying a cool washcloth to your sunburn. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes for the best relief and healing.
Moisturize More Deeply
Water is all well and good, but you should also moisturize your skin in other ways. Using lotion or aloe vera gel is the best way to do this. It will provide relief and keep your sunburn from getting more irritated. Make sure to avoid creams and lotions that contain petroleum jelly, as these trap heat in your skin — which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid. If your sunburn is excessively painful or irritated, you may also want to apply a hydrocortisone cream, which can be purchased at any drugstore.
When you get a sunburn, you are also likely to become dehydrated. You also want to ensure that your skin stays moist as it heals. This not only facilitates healing but also provides faster, better pain relief.
Most sunburns do not require any extra pain relief aside from maybe a little aloe vera gel. However, if your sunburn is very painful, you can consider taking an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen. This will temporarily alleviate any pain you feel. If your sunburn is extremely painful or if you feel sick, nauseated, faint, or dizzy, you should seek medical care right away.
If your sunburn develops into blisters, it is extremely important that you avoid poking or popping them. A blistering sunburn indicates a second-degree burn, which means that damage has penetrated deep into your skin. Popping blisters will increase your risk of infection, so it is important to leave them alone.
Going forward, it is extremely important to protect your skin as it heals. This involves staying hydrated and protecting your skin from the sun. Wearing hats and tightly woven fabric that covers your sunburn. You can tell if the fabric has a tight weave by holding it up to the light to see if you can see light coming through.