Maybe you waited too long to reapply your sunscreen. Or perhaps you took a medication that made your skin more sensitive to the sun. Either way, now you have a burn! So, now what? First things first, find a shady place to chill. I repeat, stay out of the sun! Whenever you notice that your skin is pink it’s time for a time out. This doesn’t mean you need to hide inside, if you’re out at the beach or poolside with friends, simply put a hat on and sit under an umbrella. If you’re out playing sports, cover up. Wear something white to block the sun’s rays.
Once you do get home take the milk from your refrigerator and spike your bath water with it. No, not a hot bath, this one needs to be cool. Cool, milky water will immediately calm your skin. Better yet, add oatmeal to your bath. Soak for at least 20 minutes. Gently pat your body dry with a towel and apply a pure aloe gel, followed by cortisone cream. If your skin is very burnt you can take Advil or Ibuprofen. These will decrease any pain from caused by inflammation.
It will take at least one week for your skin to heal. Please, don’t go back in the sun during this time without covering up! Keep taking cool, milky baths and applying aloe. Also, since your skin is dehydrated from the burn it’s critical for you to stay hydrated. Double your normal h2O intake. Also, you may begin applying a healing, relief cream, such as Aveeno, instead of the cortisone cream after the aloe.
This is not a time to exfoliate. Since your skin’s been damaged any physical or chemical exfoliant will only do more harm. When it begins to blister or peel, please, just look away. Don’t touch it! Our skin has a natural, innate way of healing itself. Trust it. Follow these tips and it will heal faster.
Yes, sunburns heal. However, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Sun damaged skin leads to early aging (wrinkles, sun spots) and possibly skin cancer. Schedule a skin check with your Dermatologist annually to spot and address any concerns early.