Best Sunburn Care and Prevention Tips
The road to the perfect suntan can be paved with many a painful sunburn. Sunburn prevention and treatment is based in common sense to avoid red and peeling skin. Sunburn care is especially important if your skin is sensitive and prone to turning tomato red instead of summer bronze.
The reason sunburns happen isn’t a mystery. When your skin is overexposed to the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays or other UV inducing machines (like tanning beds), damage occurs. Here are some ways you can prevent this from happening.
Limit sun exposure. Expect painful sunburn when you stay in the sun too long. Avoid the strongest UV rays by limiting your sun exposure during the hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. When possible, find a shady spot and give your skin a break. Even at the beach, the wise use of a beach umbrella and a long-sleeved cover-up can mean the difference between sleep and misery later on.
Wear adequate sunscreen. Always wear products with a sun protector factor (SPF) of 15 or higher and that says on the label “broad spectrum protection” against ultraviolet rays A and B (UVA and UVB). Apply liberally and often (don’t forget your lips and ears), especially when you swim or perspire. Choose higher SPF protection at higher elevations or if you plan to spend a lot of time in or on water.
Don’t forget your hat. Wise sunburn care means wearing a wide-rim hat to protect your scalp, neck, ears and face.
Always wear sunglasses. You can damage your eyes if you don’t wear sunglasses. Even stylish sunglasses offer UV protection.
Sunburn care and treatment
Soaks. A soothing soak in cool water does offer temporary relief. However, it’s important to apply a quality skin moisturizer, such as a body oil, afterward to prevent your skin from drying out even more. Gently apply another layer of cream or lotion that’s been chilled in the fridge.
Hydrocortisone. Products that contain hydrocortisone help relieve the burning pain of sunburn.
Natural aloe vera. Store shelves are loaded with products that contain this natural healing plant. Just as effective is to break off a leaf from an aloe plant and apply the gel-like juice directly to your skin, if you know you aren’t allergic.
Numbing anesthetic. For mild sunburns, over-the-counter anesthetic products can help numb the pain and itching. Read the label for ingredients such as benzocaine, benzyl alcohol, lidocaine or diphenhydramine hydrochloride.
Ice. Ice packs offer instant relief. Use a damp cloth as a buffer because you shouldn’t apply ice directly to sun-damaged skin.
Heal from the inside out. Sunburn care includes drinking plenty of water to moisturize your skin from the inside out. Fruit juices and whole fruits heavy in liquid content, such as melons, also pack a nutritional punch as a part of sunburn prevention and treatment.