People try to prevent sunburn, but mistakes happen. Even the biggest advocates of sunscreen are only human after all. If you happen to turn a bright shade of red after a day of swimming, you don't have to toss and turn in pain for days on end. There are ways to treat a sunburn that can alleviate your symptoms and heal your skin.
Your body needs hydration
You might already know that sunburn requires moisturizing, but did you know that you should also hydrate? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sunburns make the inside of your body dry, which can make you dehydrated. Drink ample water to prevent this from happening.
What are the best creams?
Keep some aloe in your medicine cabinet in case of a sunburn. With so many on the market, it might be difficult to decipher which one is the most effective. As the Skin Cancer Foundation stated, a lotion with vitamins C and E can potentially limit skin damage. It's one thing to look like a tomato for a few days, but it's another to get permanent wrinkles from the sun. If you're in a lot of pain, consider using a hydrocortisone cream for relief.
If you don't have aloe
Sometimes sunburn shows up at odd times of the day. If you've been at the beach all day, you might not even notice that you're red until you get home. When this happens, you can find yourself in a predicament where you're in pain and all of the stores are closed. Where do you turn to for a little relief? Some experts say the refrigerator.
Spokeswoman for the Skin Cancer Foundation, Francesca Fusco, chatted with contributors at Self magazine and explained that milk is an effective at-home remedy. Pour equal parts of milk, ice cubes and water into a bowl and dip a washcloth into the concoction. Place it over your burned skin for instant relief.
This technique works because the fat, protein and pH of milk act as an anti-inflammatory. The coldness can also reduce swelling, according to the source.
What not to use
Don't buy products that have petroleum, benzocaine or lidocaine, warned the AAD. These ingredients can actually trap heat in your skin and make your burns become increasingly itchy. You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like Ibuprofen, if you're in a world of pain.
Can you itch it?
All peeling and picking should be avoided, no matter how much your sunburn might itch. The AAD pointed out that the irritation might mean that you actually have a second-degree burn, and fussing with it can lead to an infection.
When to see a doctor
If you try these out and your sunburn still hurts, it might be time to see a doctor. It's not uncommon to get third-degree burns from powerful UV rays. Excessive sun exposure can lead to a variety of burns.
You can even have all three types of burns at once. It's likely you'll know if you have a third-degree burn because it can be very painful. Physically, your skin might have a white or leathery appearance, or charred and dark brown, explained Health Line.
Third-degree burns are very serious because they can lead to a number of health complications. According to the source, they're linked to infections, blood loss and even shock. If you think you might have one, it's imperative to seek medical care immediately. Putting it off can lead to irreversible damage.
When you get a sunburn, treat it quickly and accurately to minimize skin damage and other harmful side effects. Give yourself enough time to heal before getting back in your salt system pool.