Crispy: How To Take Care Of A Sunburn

Well, we’ve survived the heat and made it to August, and I can almost guarantee that you’ve had at least one sunburn by now. Don’t deny it… there has been a lot of evidence popping up on Facebook to attest to this. It doesn’t have to be a full-on blistering burn in order to qualify; a subtle pinking up of the skin that makes you stand in front of a mirror pushing on it while watching it turn white counts too. Did you become lazy and neglect to reapply your sunscreen or just forgot it all together? Either way, here is some insight into how to take care of a burn next time it happens (hopefully never).

First and foremost you need to get out of the sun and into the shade. Start to cool yourself down with a quick, cold shower. Follow your shower with compresses of 1 cup of cool water and 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar to help draw out the heat further. You can also try using Avene Thermal Spring Water to decrease the skin temperature. It feels amazing on hot, flushed skin (also good for menopausal hot flashes). While your skin is still damp from your compresses it’s an ideal time to apply a gentle moisturizer with pure aloe vera in it, not the artificially colored neon green gel. Also, consider taking an anti-inflammatory like Advil or Mortin to help with the pain and reduce any associated swelling that is caused by the increased blood flow to the area. 

One overlooked step in treating a sunburn is to drink lots of water and other clear liquids (alcohol not included). The skin is the organ that’s responsible for the regulation of fluid in the body. When the skin is compromised due to a burn, it can’t do its job properly and allows too much water to escape causing dehydration. Dehydration carries its own risks so seek medical attention if you experience nausea, dizziness, vomiting, heart palpitations, weakness, lack of tears, saliva, or urine production.

If you got scorched enough that blisters formed you’ve got a second-degree burn on your hands. Do not pop the blisters! The risk of infection is real if you start picking at them. Keep them clean and well moisturized. Second-degree burns are not only affecting the epidermis but also damaging the upper layers of the dermis. 

Even though a sunburn seems temporary once the pain and peeling subside, it can have long-term effects on the skin including sun spots, wrinkles, and cancer. A large study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention in 2014 found that a person having five or more blistering sunburns before the age of 20 were 60% more likely to develop melanoma later in life. A burn is actually damaging the cellular DNA. Consider this the next time your having a lazy moment and don’t apply your sunscreen. Spending five minutes applying your product now could save you a lot of hurt in the future.