So, you got a sunburn. Right about now, you’re probably experiencing the creeping feelings of guilt, regret and fear that come with reddened skin so hot to the touch and feverish sensations.
“Why didn’t I think to wear sunscreen?”
“I should have reapplied!”
“I thought that brand was supposed to work?!”
“That’s it, no more sun for the rest of the summer”
By now, we all know how dangerous too much sun can be. Along with causing premature aging, sunspots and wrinkles, too much sun can lead to some pretty scary medical diagnoses: Approximately 9,000 people are estimated to die from melanoma every year. It’s a scary number made even scarier by the fact that the cause – the sun – is simply unavoidable. Most of us go outside every day. Some of us even work outside. Being outside is the best! Except when fear of a sunburn ruins the good time. Sun damage and sunburn is caused by UVA and UVB light emitted by the sun. These ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin, damaging cells and even alter your DNA (this in part causes those wrinkles), the symptoms of sunburn include deep reddened skin, peeling skin, blisters, feverish symptoms, and chills as your body works to cope with the damage, shedding compromised cells and healing itself.
While it may be tempting to throw in the pool towel and spend the remainder of the summer months indoors, swearing off daylight altogether, we all know that’s not exactly… feasible. So, besides stocking up on plenty of eco-friendly sunscreen and remembering to slather yourself thoroughly with the stuff next time (we recommend putting it on before your swimsuit, so you cover every inch. Then be sure to reapply), what’s a sunburned person to do? Thankfully there are plenty of ways to care for a sunburn naturally. Why should you give your skin some love post-burn? Besides providing some comfort during a very uncomfortable time, by caring for your burn, you can support faster healing and lessen some of the damage done. Below are five of our favorite ways to care for a sunburn naturally:
#1 – Jump in the Ocean
If you’re at the beach, an effective way to immediately help sunburn is to jump in the water. The cool water will help minimize the inflammation of your skin. Avoid chlorinated water as it can cause further irritation. After your quick swim be sure to find a shaded area and cover up to prevent additional exposure. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
#2 – Aloe vera
Arguably the most well-known way of caring for a sunburn naturally, keeping an aloe vera plant close by – especially in the summer – is a fast and easy way to gain some relief. We’re not talking about the chemical-laden “aloe vera gel” sold at your local pharmacy, which usually contains skin-drying alcohol and other chemicals. Nope, you want to use the actual ultra-moisturizing gel straight from inside the plant’s leaves. This natural gel offers cooling relief and may support the skin’s hydration and healing. Keep a few leaves in your fridge for cooling relief, you can often find them in the produce section of your local market, or add some green to your life with a big, healthy potted aloe plant. To use them, simply slice the leaves in half or peel them, and rub the gel on your burn.
#3 – Coconut oil
Coconut oil really is good for everything. A fantastic natural moisturizer, the saturated fats in coconut oil may support hydration post-burn by aiding in moisturizing and soothing the itching and burning that comes with a sunburn. Slather a thin layer of coconut oil onto freshly washed, dry skin for best results.
#4 – Oatmeal
If you ever had chickenpox as a child and were subjected to the colloidal oatmeal bath, you know how utterly soothing it can be – if a little chunky. Colloidal oatmeal is oatmeal that’s been ground to a fine powder and suspended in a liquid – like your bath – or a cream, which helps it better absorb into your skin. Oatmeal boasts naturally soothing properties, including flavonoids, which may help counteract some of those UVAs. There are plenty of over-the-counter colloidal oatmeal products available, look for one with easy-to-read, all-natural ingredients and add to a lukewarm bath for ultra-soothing effects.
#5 – Tea bags
Sunburn on your face? Brew some green tea! We’re not suggesting you drink it, instead pop those cold green tea bags in the fridge to place on your face for soothing relief. The antioxidants in green tea – and the tannic acid in black tea – can support sunburn relief and help you relax while you’re at it. Simply chill the tea bags and place on your face and eyes while reclining for a few minutes at a time.
What’s your go-to way to deal with a sunburn? Share with us on social by tagging @AvocadoMattress and #AvocadoGreenMagazine!