What is Sunburn?
A sunburn is a form of severely damaged skin exposure to extreme ultraviolet radiation. It might take few hours or even a few minutes out in the sun for sunburns to occur. The worst scenario is that you realize the burning sensation on the skin when it’s too late! In such occurrence of sunburn, the skin itself creates sunburn hacks in certain responses such as dilation, lose moisture, produce melanin, and remove damaged skin layers by peeling off.
Dilation of the skin occurs in order to heat up the skin, as a response to the extreme external heat. When skin loses moisture, the cells get dehydrated and the skin tightens to resist damage from heat. Melanin is a pigment produced to avoid any further damage to the internal layers of the skin. Since the damaged layers of skin would be dead and might create cancerous effects, it is peeled off as one of the skin’s own sunburn hacks.
Sunburns can be painful and even itchy or irritating at times. Therefore, let’s find out the most effective sunburn hacks that would be of immediate treatment.
- Cool Water/ Cold Bath or Shower
Let cool water run mildly over the sunburnt area. This would reduce the skin temperature and soothe the burning sensation of the skin. This would also reduce the redness and possible inflammations on the skin. Do not increase the pressure of water in the shower, and do not scrub the skin with soap or rub with a towel as it would irritate the skin.
- Cold Compress/ Icepack on Sunburn
Apply a cold wet towel and hold it over the sunburnt area for as long as possible. You can also use a frozen icepack on sunburn, but remember to wrap it in a towel before using it so the skin wouldn’t feel severe coldness at once. You can also use a wet washcloth kept in the freezer for few hours for this.
After cooling down the skin from the above sunburn hacks, you can apply some alcohol-free moisturizer that is rich in Vitamin E. this would increase the hydration of the skin and reduce dryness. You can also use Hydrocortisone cream which will reduce itch and soothe the skin.
- Refrigerated Aloe Vera/ Cucumbers
Aloe Vera, straight from the plant is a wonderful medication for sunburns. It consists of anti-inflammatory properties that can heal the burnt skin and help regenerate new cells faster. Applying slices of cucumbers also adds a refreshing relief to the sunburnt skin. Cooling or refrigerating both Aloe Vera and cucumbers before application would increase the effects.
- Apply Milk/ Honey
Cold milk is a natural remedy that can cure the skin. Due to Vitamin A and D present in milk, the healing process is speeded up. The lactic acid helps n peeling off the dead cells. Using honey over burnt skin has been a topical remedy in the past. Honey also reduces infection and minimizes pain.
- Oatmeal Bath/ Baking Soda or Cornstarch
This is the best sunburn hack to combat inflammation and chill your skin. Pulverize some oatmeal in a blender and pour it into your bath water and let it soak. Adding baking soda or cornstarch in bathing water can also give the same effect of relieving skin inflammation. You can also mix these with some water, make a paste and apply it to the sunburnt skin.
- Treating Sunburn with Tea
Apply cold wet tea bags on the infected area. The tannins containing in brewed teabags help in removing heat from sunburnt skin and balances the pH level of the skin. The antioxidants present in tea also help in healing the skin. Drinking green tea would also help in repairing the damaged skin in the long run.
- Coconut Oil/ Vaseline
Coconut oil should be applied only after the skin is well cooled and the blisters are cured. Else, it might trap heat and worsen the inflammation. However, gently applying organic, virgin coconut oil and Vaseline reduces the dryness in the skin and helps speedy recovery.
- White Vinegar/ Apple Cider Vinegar
Another sunburn remedy is to soak a washcloth with dilute white or apple cider vinegar and then leave it on the sunburnt skin for some time. The acetic acid present in this helps in relieving pain and itching. It also promotes healing.
- Drink More Water/ Stay Hydrated
Drinking more water keeps you hydrated which directly affects the health of your skin. Staying hydrated is very essential especially when you have sunburnt skin because dehydration on already sunburnt skin would create really bad irritations and inflammations.
How long does it take for sunburn to go away?
The lasting period of sunburns depends on the severity of the sunburn. Mild sunburns which consist of only redness and slight pain would last for about 3 to 5 days. Moderate sunburn consists of red, swollen, and hot skin. It would continue to heal for around a week and gradually, the dead skin would peel off. Severe sunburn would take over two weeks to heal and would need medical advice for complete recovery. Even though the visible effects of sunburn would heal within matters of days or weeks, the possible impact caused by damaging the DNA of skin cells could last long. It could even result in melanoma, which is a form of skin cancer.
When to seek medical advice?
If the person affected by sunburn is a child under age one or has severe pain, many blisters, or high fever contact your doctor or dermatologist immediately. Some other symptoms of extreme sunburn are rapid pulse, nausea or vomiting, feeling faint or weak, low blood pressure, confusion, and chills.
What is better than all the Sunburn Hacks above?
The best option is to never let sunburns happen! Follow these simple steps and prevent sunburns.
- Avoid staying out in the sun between 10:00 am to 4:00 pm as the UV exposure is at its highest
- Use a proper sunscreen of SPF 15 or above and follow the adequate amounts of application
- Use a lip balm of the same sun protection factor
- Wear long-sleeved, loose-fitting clothes
- Wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats
- Avoid direct contact with sunlight and stay in the shade when possible
Also Read:- How To Remove Hard Skin & Get Silky Soft Feet