Monday, June 10, 2013
Home Remedies for Sunburn
Take a Bath
Adding a few heaping tablespoons of baking soda to cool bath water makes a sunburn-soothing remedy. Just keep your soaking time down to 15 to 20 minutes. If you soak any longer, you risk drying out your skin. When you've emerged from the bath, resist the urge to towel off. Instead air-dry, and don't wipe the baking soda off.
Oatmeal added to cool bathwater offers another wonderful relief for sunburned skin. Fill up the bathtub with cool water--not cold water because that can send the body into shock. Don't use bath salts, oils, or bubble bath. Instead, scoop 1/2 to 1 cup oatmeal and mix it in.
Add Some Aloe Vera
The thick, gel-like juice of the aloe vera plant can take the sting and redness out of a sunburn. Aloe vera causes blood vessels to constrict. Luckily, this healing plant is available at your local nursery or even in the grocery store's floral department. Simply slit open one of the broad leaves and apply the gel directly to the burn. Apply five to six times per day for several days.
Apply a Cool Compress
Soak a washcloth in cool water and apply it directly to the burned areas (do not apply ice or an ice pack to sunburned skin) for several minutes, rewetting the cloth often to keep it cool. Apply the compress multiple times throughout the day as needed to relieve discomfort. You can also add a soothing ingredient, such as baking soda or oatmeal, to the compress water. Simply shake a bit of baking soda into the water before soaking the cloth. Or wrap dry oatmeal in a cheesecloth or a piece of gauze and run water through it. Then toss out the oatmeal and soak the compress in the oatmeal water.
As the sun fried your skin, it also dehydrated it. Be sure to replenish liquids by drinking plenty of water while recovering from a sunburn. Being well hydrated will help burns heal better.
The sun dries out the skin's surface and causes cells and blood vessels to leak, causing even greater moisture loss. In addition, while cool baths and compresses can make you feel better, they can also end up robbing moisture from your injured skin. To prevent drying, apply moisturizer immediately after your soak. For cooling relief of pain and dryness, chill the moisturizer in the refrigerator before using.
Pat Down With Potatoes
The plain old potato makes for a wonderful pain reliever. It's a time-tested technique known throughout the world. Take two washed potatoes, cut them into small chunks, and place them in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until the potatoes are in liquid form. Add water if they look dry. Pat the burned areas with the pulverized potatoes. Wait until the potatoes dry, then take a cool shower. Another less messy method is to apply the mash to a clean gauze and place on the burn. Change the dressing every hour. Continue applying several times a day for a few days until the pain is relieved.
Sunburns often strike where skin meets bathing suit. Sensitive and hard-to-reach spots you've neglected to smear with suntan lotion (along bikini lines, underneath buttock cheeks, or around the breasts and armpits) often fall victim. These burn spots then have to face daily irritation from tight elastic in bras and underwear. To ease chafing, cover the burned area with a dusting of cornstarch. Don't apply petroleum jelly or oils, which can exacerbate the burn by blocking pores. If the burn is blistering, however, don't apply anything.