How to Treat Sunburns

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  • 5/16/11
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  • Treat a Sunburn
    It happened. You know the danger the sun presents for skin cancer and premature aging, but the day was cloudy and you did not bother wearing sunscreen. Or you did apply sunscreen at the beginning of the day but neglected to reapply it. Now you have a sunburn . In addition to the remorse you feel for risking premature wrinkling of the skin, basal cell carcinoma , squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, your skin feels tight and painful. Sunburns occur even on cloudy days, so it is imperative to wear sunscreen whenever you are outdoors. Rest assured, though, that there are ways to alleviate the pain and redness of the burn.

    1. Drink lots of water. You are probably dehydrated from all the time you spent in the sun and from the sunburn itself. Do not drink alcohol, which will worsen dehydration. Take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen to reduce the pain of your sunburn .

    2. Take a cool bath with a half-cup of baking soda dissolved in the water. The cool water will lower your skin temperature, and the baking soda will soothe the itchiness and irritation of your skin. Some people swear by a half-cup of vinegar in the bath water to relieve pain.

    3. If you have an aloe vera plant, break a leaf and apply some of the juice to your skin. Pure aloe vera is effective in relieving pain without the addition of chemical ingredients you do not need. If you are not fortunate enough to own an aloe vera plant, buy an aloe gel and apply it several times a day. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams also work well to treat skin inflammation and irritation.

    4. After you burn, your skin is going to peel. Reduce the unsightliness of peeling skin by applying moisturizing lotions or olive oil. Do not apply self-tanner in an effort to even out your skin color. It will only succeed in making the situation even worse by emphasizing the peeling areas of your skin.

    5. Do not break any blisters that result from a second-degree sunburn . You may cause infection. Find over-the-counter antibiotic ointment. If blistering is extensive, seek medical attention.

    6. Remember to wear lots of sunscreen the next time you are outside. If you tan easily and rarely burn, a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 should suffice. Pale people who freckle easily should be looking at SPF 50. Remember that sunburn puts you at risk for a number of types of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma , squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, and lather up accordingly.


    1.  How do you treat a sunburn?

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