Top Remedial Tips for Sunburn

I enjoyed a long walk around the city the other day, the weather was perfect, bright and sunny, not too hot, nice cool breeze – really, the perfect day.  I wasn’t out long, just a few hours of strolling here and there.  All together, I think I was out for maybe three hours total.  Long enough to get a bright red sunburn on my chest.  Thankfully it doesn’t hurt overmuch, but that’s because I’m babying myself with liberal amounts of coconut oil.  I sure do love coconut oil, this stuff has so many healthy and beauty uses, and I know I have yet to discover them all.

The fact is, I just didn’t apply any of the common tricks and hints for avoiding a sunburn.  Now I get to enjoy a strange ring of redness upon my otherwise paper-white skin, not to mention any risks for sun-related damage. Because I should know better, I’m going to share with you my mother’s best tips for avoiding sunburn.

Don’t repeat my mistakes, listen to my mother.

Hat trick: If you must be outdoors during the peak sun hours of 11 am to 2 pm, wear a brimmed sun hat. Parasols are effective and pretty, but no one carries them anymore.

Sunscreen: Everyone should wear a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15, unless you’re a risk for spontaneous combustion like I am, in which case you’ll want to reach for something with an SPF over 30.  Make sure the sunscreen you pick is PABA free, and reapply after swimming, towel drying, or after 30 minutes in the water.  Pay extra attention to high exposure areas like the ears, nose, cheeks and shoulders.

Lip balm: Use lip balm with sunscreen to protect and prevent your lips from being sun burnt. This also prevents the lips from chapping and looking dehydrated. If you make homemade lip balm, try adding mango butter, a natural sunscreen that tastes great.

Remedies – If it’s already too late:

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Adults may use aspirin or ibuprofen products early and continue taking them regularly for up to two days to reduce the pain and discomfort. Read the label and use caution if giving this, or a similar, treatment to a child under the age of 12.

Aloe vera:  Whether you’re using it straight from the plant, or from a bottle, aloe vero is great for soothing sunburnt skin.

Water: Drinking water is always important, but now it’s more important than ever to replace fluids lost because of swelling and sunburned skin.

Other tips:

  • Cool the effected area first before applying any soothing cream. Otherwise you’re simply trapping heat and adding to your discomfort.
  • Never apply butter to a sunburn
  • Avoid Vasaline and other petrolium-based ointments as a moisturizer, their particular formulas trap in heat and prolong the burning sensation.
  • Try taking a bath infused with milk and oatmeal to cool and soothe burned skin.

On top of all this, remember to wear loose, cotton clothes for extra comfort and ventilation until your sunburn starts to fade.  Always keep the area moisturized to avoid an unsightly mess when the inevitable peeling starts.

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