Did Memorial Day leave you looking like a lobster?
Sunburns happen when UV light kills the layer of new cells just below your skin’s surface. Your immune system responds by sending healing fluid to the burn (the swelling and redness you see), while your nerves release pain messages to your brain to let it know that your skin is “well done”.
The only cure for a sunburn is time, but here are 4 soothing “C’s” to put out the flame while you’re waiting.
1. Chill Out
Does your skin feel like you can fry an egg on it? The first thing you can do to beat the heat is to apply cool compresses to the affected area. This will help lower your skin temperature and feels really good!
Also, keep a bottle of sunburn gel, like Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Cooling Gel ($7.99, drugstore.com), in the fridge. It has aloe to heal and soothe, as well as a little lidocaine, which is an anesthetic to numb your skin. Keeping it cold makes it feel like heaven when your skin hurts like the devil!
2. Care & Calm
In addition to chilling your skin’s surface, you can calm the swelling by popping an over the counter anti-inflammatory drug. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) will help reduce pain and puffiness. Follow the directions on your product’s package for dosing information.
Hydrocortisone creams, like Cortizone-10 ($5.99, cvs.com), act as a topical anti-inflammatory as well. We’re also fans of products with aloe vera, like Banana Boat’s After Sun Lotion ($5.49, amazon.com), which will add moisture to your parched skin. It will help relieve some of the itchy, tight feeling too.
With your skin temperature up and your body sending extra fluid to help put out the fire, you run the risk of getting dehydrated. Be sure to drink lots of water to allow your body to optimize it’s healing processes.
4. Cover Up
When you have to head back outside, keep your skin covered. Begin by applying a strong yet gentle sunscreen like Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunblock Lotion ($8.99, target.com). The high SPF (60) will give you protection from UV light, and the mild formula will avoid further irritation to your burn.
Loose, light layers of clothing are perfect for protecting your burn and keeping you cool. Stay in the shade as much as possible, or use an umbrella or a sunhat if you can’t find a spot out of the sun.
Even the most diligent Line Fighters may find themselves unexpectedly scorched by the summer sun. Use your sunscreen every day, stay covered, and avoid direct exposure to those roasting rays. Your skin will thank you for it!
Karin Ruiz Social Media Coordinator MAS Media / Manhattan Aesthetic Surgery www.ManhattanAestheticSurgery.com
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto
NOTICE: None of the celebrities or individuals discussed here have ever received treatment, surgery, medical advice, or evaluations from any author, physician, surgeon, or representative of this blog. All images and photos in this article represent models only. No actual patients or clients are shown.