Summer is officially here! With the warm, gorgeous weather, we’ll be spending a lot more time outside in the sun. I know you’ve heard it a million times, but I’ll repeat it again; it’s crucial that you use an SPF of 30 or higher every time you are outside! However, mistakes happen- maybe you forgot to reapply after 2 hours, or you closed your eyes on the beach just to wake up hours later looking like a lobster. The fact is many of us will end up with a painful, peeling sunburn at some point this summer. Unfortunately, some burns can cause long-lasting, wrinkle-inducing damage. We’re sharing with you the best process to heal that burnt skin so you can minimize those lasting effects and the pain that comes with it.
- Take Aspirin
Your first priority should be taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory such as aspirin or ibuprofen. This will take the heat off your skin, and can also help with the pain of the burn. It also reduces the swelling and redness that will occur and might prevent some long-term skin damage. Be aware that certain medications such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) will treat the pain, but does not have the same anti-inflammatory effect.
- Apply Cold-Compresses
Applying a wet washcloth is one of the best things you can do to ease the pain of a burn. You can even soak the washcloth in whole milk if you’d like- the fat and proteins in milk help to soothe irritation. I also suggest using an ice gel pack as they are soothing and won’t make a mess. They can also be used in bed to help fall asleep and provide instant relief from the burning sensation. Many also say that gel packs feel better on the skin and are more convenient.
Once the skin has cooled a bit, slather on a moisturizing cream or lotion to soothe the skin. Hydrated skin recovers faster from trauma, and creams with antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, are especially beneficial for sunburn. Moisturize frequently to make peeling and flaking less noticeable.
- Stay Hydrated
Burns draw fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body. Be sure to drink extra water for a couple of days after being sunburnt and watch for signs of dehydration: Dry mouth, thirst, reduced urination, headache, dizziness and sleepiness.
- LED Therapy
Although not widely known, most likely the most potent relief from sunburns can come from LED therapy: It tones down inflammation and promotes wound healing with pulsated doses of red light. GentleWaves LED is the gentlest, least invasive light treatment available. It’s calibrated to help injured skin recover quickly and can be done the moment you spot a burn.
- Hydrocortisone Cream Mixed With Aloe
This combination calms inflammation and reduces irritation. For best results, keep the aloe in the refrigerator and always apply moisturizer after application. As an added relief, you can use ice gel packs after applying topicals to further soothe.