We know no one heads out for a day of fun in the sun with a genuine intention of coming back looking like a lobster. Sunburns just happen; they happen when we lose track of time between sunscreen applications or when we nod off by the pool. Maybe your last sunburn occurred while you were busily working in the garden. Whatever the instance that leads to sunburn, the event itself can be upsetting due to prolonged redness, pain, itching, and blisters. Here, we want to prepare you for the unexpected sunburn with some tips for rapid resolution.
The first thing to do to manage the immediate damage of a sunburn is to cool the skin. As soon as you notice that your skin is pinker than it should be, get into the shade. If you have a cooler with cold water or ice, rub your skin with a cold compress as quickly and often as possible. Ice should not be directly applied to the skin.
Cooling the skin right away can reduce the secondary effects of sunburn before they develop. However, inflammation is still likely. This can be managed by taking a lukewarm bath in water mixed with apple cider vinegar or baking soda. If baking soda is added to the bath, air dry after to allow the chalky residue to dry on your skin. This can decrease itching. Adding 1 cup of vinegar to the bath water can soothe sunburn pain through astringent properties.
Sunburned skin will be dry skin. Moisturization and hydration are vital to managing symptoms and restoring dermatologic health. After a bath or shower, it is ideal to apply a light bath oil while skin is still damp. Then, layer a soothing moisturizing cream on top to lock hydration against the epidermis. To further soothe inflamed skin, place your moisturizer in the refrigerator so it’s cool when you put it on.
Usually, there is no need for medical care to remedy a mild to moderate sunburn. Your physician should treat severe burns that involve large-scale blistering or symptoms such as chills or confusion.
Receive professional care from the friendly team at Westerville Dermatology. Call 614-895-0400.