Whether you missed a patch of skin with the sunblock, or forgot entirely and headed out into the midday glare, dealing with sunburnt skin can be tricky. Here are a few ways to ease the burn.
We’ve almost all been sunburnt at some point or another. Either you missed a patch of skin with the sunblock, risked not reapplying because it wasn’t that sunny, or forgot entirely and headed out into the midday glare, bare flesh exposed to the UV rays.
You’d think the tomato-red remnants of getting sunburnt would be punishment enough, but no, you’ve still got to cope with hot, scorched, and prickly skin for days afterward.
Prevention is always best when it comes to avoiding long-term skin damage: Slather on at least SPF30, cover up, wear sunnies, and spend time in the shade, particularly between 11am and 3pm. As some of us are taking advantage of high UV indexes and long sunny days, we’re bound to be caught out by the blazing summer weather. If you’re suffering as a result, here’s how to help relieve the burn.
Get Out of the Sun
For starters, seek shade as soon as you realize you’re burnt. Slathering on more sunblock won’t reverse it, however much you wish it could. Burnt skin is not going to appreciate any further sunshine, so if you’re outside, relocate under a tree, or move indoors entirely.
Wear Cool, Loose Clothing
Cover up in closely-woven items to ward off any further burn, and opt for cool, loose-fitting clothes, ideally a size too big, to avoid aggravating your sore skin.
Hats and Sunglasses
Invest in sunglasses with UV protection (the sun can damage your eyes too), and a big sun hat. Shade and cover are your friends now.
In hot weather, staying hydrated is always vital, and even more so if you’re sunburnt. Drinking lots of water will help you cool down, and should help prevent the onset of dehydration.
Soak in a Cool Bath
Slide into a bath full of cool water, or turn the shower to cold to alleviate the burning sensation and bring your temperature down.
Take Pain Relief
You might feel silly for ending up in this position, but there’s no need to martyr through — taking painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol to take the edge off any discomfort is medically recommended.
Use a Damp Compress
You can’t lay in a cool bath forever (this in itself can dry your skin out further), so try wearing a cool, damp t-shirt, or applying a cold compress – a tea towel dunked in cold water, then draped over your back, works a treat if your shoulders caught the sun. Some people also swear by cold, damp tea bags placed on the skin. Just don’t put ice or ice packs on sunburnt skin – it can damage it and cause more pain.
Apply Aftersun Lotion
Your local pharmacy should have a good selection of aftersun lotions available, designed to cool, soothe, and help sunburnt skin begin to heal (although the cell damage is unfortunately already done). Ones packed with cooling aloe vera are particularly calming.