Soothe that Sunburn

So you’ve spent the day basking in the sun like a turtle under a heat lamp. Unlike the turtle, however, your skin now resembles that of a lobster with freckles because you neglected to use sunscreen or it washed off. Whatever the case may be, here are a few tested and true remedies that will help alleviate the searing pain that comes with being slowly baked under the sun. 

Aloe vera “after sun” creams and gels are readily available at most drugstores and supermarkets. I’ve found that some, especially Banana Boat’s Aloe After Sun Lotion, effectively soothe the initial sting. The aloe plant has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, which are the active agents in sunburn relief. It’s also important to moisturize, especially as your skin begins to peel off a few days later.

Ibuprofen, which is also anti-inflammatory, can help relieve the pain. Remain hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

A popular home remedy is apple cider vinegar, which cools the skin and also acts as an antiseptic. And once you get past that ripe egg salad smell, you’ll appreciate the remedy even more. Milk, traditionally, has also been used to soothe burns and itching in cold compresses. But I would advise against mixing the two.

Oatmeal, the wonder cereal that seems to be found in more skin products than breakfast bowls, has a soothing effect when applied to the skin as a paste. Slather yourself in the cereal after it has cooled down.

Of course, to avoid using any of these remedies, apply some sunscreen before you head out. And keep reapplying it. Although some sunscreens claim to be “water resistant”, the formula only works for about 40 – 80 minutes while swimming. Check the expiration dates on the bottles, too. Although the FDA requires that sunscreens remain effective for three years, keeping sunblock on a beach towel in direct heat and sunlight can weaken the formula.

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