How to treat sun burn effectively

sun in the sky

Sunburn is caused by too much exposure to the sun without any protection from clothes or sunscreen. If you have pale skin or are not used to spending time in the sun, you are at an increased risk of getting burned. In most cases, more severe sunburns take longer to heal than more mild burns. There are no cures for sunburn, but there are multiple ways to encourage and improve the body’s natural healing process for sunburn.

What to do if you have sunburn

Even though there is no way to reverse the long-term damage caused to your skin by the sun’s UV rays, there are still ways you can reduce the discomfort and speed up the healing process.

  • Avoid the sun – As soon as you notice your skin has burnt, get out of the sun and find some shade or cover up your skin. Make sure your skin is covered or kept out of direct sunlight until it has fully healed.
  • Cool the skin – Take frequent cold showers or baths to help relieve the burning pain that accompanies sunburn. As soon as you are done, pat yourself dry but make sure you leave some water on the skin.
  • Aftersun – After showers/baths especially, use aftersun cream that contains aloe vera to help soothe the skin. This also prevents the skin from becoming very dry and tight. Apply multiple times per day or when necessary to soothe the skin.
  • Hydrate – Be sure to drink lots of water when you are sunburnt. Sunburn draws fluid to the surface of the skin and away from the rest of the body. Drinking more water than usual will prevent you from becoming dehydrated.
  • Painkillers – If your sunburn is very painful, you can take a painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to minimise discomfort. This can come in handy just before you go to bed as sleeping with sunburn can be extremely uncomfortable and painful.
  • Clothing – When the skin is healing you should take extra care with the clothes you wear. Wear loose fitting clothing to allow your skin to breathe and heal without any irritation. If you wear tighter clothes it can cause blisters to pop and your skin to peel which could lead to infections.

What not to do when you have sunburn

Now we have explained what you should do when you are sunburnt, here are some things you should avoid doing. By doing any of the following, it could lengthen the healing process, or even lead to infections which can be very dangerous.

  • Do not use petroleum jelly on sunburnt skin.
  • Avoid putting icepacks or ice directly on the sunburnt skin.
  • If your sunburn has developed blisters, do not pop them as this can cause infection
  • Do not try to peel off any skin that has started to lift.
  • Don’t wear tight fitting clothes over sunburnt areas as this can irritate the skin further, accidentally popping blisters or peeling the skin.

If you are very worried about your sunburn, make sure you see a doctor or a dermatologist to offer their advice or treatment.