How To Treat Sunburn

How To Treat Sunburn

We all know how important it is to use sunscreen, but sometimes, even with the best of intentions, we find ourselves suffering from the occasional sunburn. You may be taking antibiotics or other medications that increase your sensitivity to the sun, or you may have simply forgotten to apply your SPF before leaving the house. It will be important to take extra precautions next time, but in the meantime, let’s discuss some sunburn remedies and get you feeling better.

You may not notice your symptoms right away, but about 4 hours after you’ve been exposed to the sun, you may start to experience red, warm skin, blistering, headaches, fever, nausea, and fatigue. How to heal sunburn quickly and effectively starts with some basic home remedies for sunburn relief:

  • Drink lots of water to replenish fluids
  • Take an anti-inflammatory medication (like ibuprofen) to relieve pain, headache, and fever
  • Apply cloths with cold water, witch hazel, or an ice pack to the irritated areas
  • Take a cool bath or shower (keep in mind: soap can further dry and irritate your skin)

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends treating a sunburn with moisturizer that contains aloe vera, but if you haven’t used topical aloe vera before, make sure you apply it to a small area first to check for an allergic reaction. Aloe can help reduce the stinging sensation of a sunburn – 100% pure aloe will have better results.  Consider products that contain Vitamin E to help prevent skin damage.  Coconut oil can help replenish your skin after the sunburn has subsided, usually about 48 hours after you notice symptoms.

If your eyes have been exposed and start to feel red, dry, and uncomfortable, rest and lubricating eye drops can help. If your eyelids are burned, soak tea bags in cool water and apply to your eyelids to decrease swelling and relieve pain. Extreme ultraviolet exposure to your eyes can result in intense pain, and chronic exposure can lead to macular degeneration, cataracts, and pterygium, tissue growth that can lead to blindness.

If you have a bad sunburn with persistent, severe symptoms - extreme chills, intense pain, an unusually high fever (over 101°), loss of consciousness, or extreme eye irritation or pain - contact your physician immediately.