5 Tips to Quickly Soothe a Sunburn

Sunburn remedies

The blazing hot summers of South Louisiana can do it to you in no time.  However, so can the overcast days of spring.  Any significant amount of UV rays can result in a sunburn, no matter how hot it may be.  The wisest course of action is to take appropriate steps toward sun protection whenever you may be outdoors.  Use a sunblock with an SPF of 30 or above, wear a wide-brimmed hat and long-sleeved clothing, and seek shade during the hours of 10AM to 4PM when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.

Unfortunately, even with our very best intentions, sunburns do occasionally happen, and while your dermatologist may not be pleased with your red, damaged skin, we can certainly help you find the most effective ways to bring relief.  After all, no one enjoys the discomfort of a sunburn when simply pulling on a shirt or sitting on your leather car seats equals misery.

Cool Compress – To relieve inflamed skin in the very early stages of a sunburn, try cool compresses to bring some relief.  Start with cold water and even ice applied several times daily in 10-15 minute intervals.  Alternating with witch hazel, a natural astringent shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, is also helpful.

Oatmeal – Oatmeal is high in antioxidants and also boasts incredible anti-inflammatory properties.  It’s been a home remedy favorite for everything from acne to diaper rash, and of course, sunburns.  Try filling a sock with oatmeal and then placing in your bath for a nice long soak, or make your own oatmeal paste.  Either way, your skin will be able to enjoy the incredible healing properties of this breakfast favorite.

Aloe Vera – Perhaps the most well-known, relied upon method for sunburn relief, aloe vera has been treating sunburns for ages.  However, there are a few caveats.  When using store-bought aloe products, avoid those that contain alcohol which will not only further dehydrate the skin, but may sting as well.  For those who may want to try aloe directly from the plant itself, use caution, as aloe allergies are quite common.

Ibuprofen – Not surprisingly, aspirin and ibuprofen are both quite effective at relieving the pain associated with a sunburn.  You may be looking for ways to quickly reduce redness, but these anti-inflammatory medications will help you rest comfortably as your skin recovers.  As a bonus, ibuprofen can help reduce the redness and inflammation caused by sunburn if taken during or immediately following a sunburn.

Moisturize – After all is said and done, the most effective method to heal your sunburned skin is to moisturize, but to relieve your dry, itchy, and inflamed skin, it must be done properly.  When selecting your moisturizer, avoid those which list petroleum, benzocaine, or lidocaine among their ingredients.  Properties you will want to look for include vitamins A and E or aloe. 

Sunburns are not only uncomfortable, they damage the skin, lead to premature aging and significantly increase the likelihood of skin cancer.  Avoiding these burns at all costs should be the priority, but when they do occur, the above steps can help bring relief and speed healing.

Dr. Chad Prather and the team at Dermasurgery Center in Baton Rouge and Lafayette can help you address all of your skin concerns.  Whether you want to be proactive in your skin’s health or have a specific concern to address, we can help.  Click here to request an appointment.