What is sunburn?
Sunburn is the inflammation of the skin when it is overexposed to UV (ultraviolet) rays. This can cause redness, peeling and in some severe cases, blistering of the skin.
This is a fairly common occurrence; however, this is not to say that it cannot be quite painful or any less serious for the sufferer.
Sun damage can lead to ageing of the skin, scarring and even melanoma so please take care before setting off into the sunshine.
Make sure your skin is protected with a sunblock of SPF 15 or higher. You should also consider wearing wide brim hats and UV protective sunglasses to reduce the risk of sun damaging your skin and eyes.
Tip: Try seeking the shade between 10am and 4pm to help reduce the risk of sunburn.
Natural treatment to treat sunburn
If you’ve had too much fun in the sun this year and are now suffering from sunburn try some of our natural treatment suggestions to help quickly cool down your scorching skin in a safe way.
Aloe is one of the oldest healing remedies in our existence – it is thought that this plant was known to the Greeks, as early as the fourth century B.C. Aloe helps heal your sunburn as it produces at least six natural antiseptics, which in turn help to soothe your burns. The spiky green plant also contains natural antibacterial properties which help clean and protect your skin from infection.
Aloe Vera has been said to increase blood circulation through the infected area, and can also help prevent the wound from drying out.
There are two parts of the plant which you could use to help soothe your burn; the gel which is found when you cut into the leaf and the latex which is a yellow substance found just below the skin of the leaf. You can use a mixture of both the gel and the latex to help speed up your recovery.
Ice, Ice Baby!
Sunburn may make you want to go running to the freezer but take care when attempting to cool down your burns.
You don’t want cause further irritation by throwing ice on your sunburn which can result in the ice sticking to the exposed flesh and will only make everything much more painful.
Take a damp cloth or tea towel and wrap it around a bag of ice – or peas – whichever you prefer and press this to the burned area to help relieve the pain.
Non-frozen alternatives: Another way you can relieve pain is to take a cold cloth, dipped in water and press against your skin to help relax the pain. Better yet if you can get your hands on some witch hazel sprinkle some onto cotton balls and press on to irritated areas. This can help give a long lasting anti-inflammatory effect. As always, please read the instructions.
When going for a shower or bath avoid soap at all costs! This can irritate your skin further. Only use cool water to wash whilst your burns heal.
If you are having a really tough time of it right now and are experiencing burns on your eyelids, take extra care when trying to soothe them. The eyelid is the thinnest part of skin on your body and rubbing harsh creams on them may irritate them further.
Instead, steep a teabag in some cool water then gently place over the eyelid. This will help relieve pain and reduce any swelling; this is because tea contains tannic acid which seems to help ease sunburn.
Keep yourself hydrated! This seems a bit strange, but you don’t want to run the risk of further damaging your body.
Your body needs at least 6-8 glasses of water a day to help it do its job and you can become easily dehydrated when you have sunburn, so try and drink as much as you can to help your body recover naturally.
Dehydration can also result in the appearance of wrinkles and can age your skin faster than it is meant to. This is another reason why it is important to keep hydrated, so your skin doesn’t start to appear old or leathery.
Tutti frutti - Eat your 5 a day!
Try to eat lots of fruit – the water in the fruit will help keep you hydrated, which is essential when recovering from sunburn.
To counteract the drying effects sunburn has on your skin try eating watermelon; one large wedge of watermelon provides 9 ounces of water. A healthy diet helps give your skin the hydration and the nutrients it needs to regenerate.
There is also research to suggest that fruit and vegetables high in Beta-carotene can help protect our skin from damage from the sun. Read more on our blog on this topic and why Carrot Juice may just come in handy!
After sun care
It is always a good idea to have an after sun skin care regime, even if you are not burned!
A great way to soothe skin after a day in the sun is simply to apply some natural yogurt. Spread unsweetened, full fat natural yogurt on your burns- this should soothe the colour of your burns from an angry red into a calmer pink tone- because the yogurt helps restore your skin’s pH balance.
You can also use Coconut oil and Shea as part of your after sun skin care regime to help ensure that your skin doesn’t dry out or begin to show early signs of ageing, which occurs when you expose your skin to harsh sunlight for long (and sometimes short) periods at a time.
Keeping your skin moist and hydrated is really important for your after sun care regime; however, make sure you are not rubbing harsh chemicals into your skin which could irritate any sunburn.
A natural way to moisture your skin is to incorporate moisturisers with natural active ingredients such as A.Vogel Neem Cream which is made from fresh Neem leaves that help irritated skin, including sunburn.
After applying your moisturiser try to take it easy and rest with your feet elevated above your heart – this will reduce swelling that can occur in sunburned legs and feet.
If you are suffering from extreme sunburn or are easily susceptible to sunburn please seek medical attention from your doctor. Each time you have sunburn you are risking serious skin conditions.
What are your best home remedies for sunburned skin? Use the comment section below to share your sunburn secrets!