Summertime is an excellent time to get outside, but with hot temperatures, there comes the possibility of getting sunburned. Since the Earth’s axis is tilted, the sun’s rays hit the planet at a steeper angle during the warmer months, increasing the amount of light that strikes at a given point. Plus, the longer daylight hours mean that there’s more time for the temperatures to rise.
Consequently, there’s the potential for you and your loved ones to suffer sunburns. Depending on their severity, sunburns can be extremely painful. They can also lead to blisters, swelling, infection and even headache, fever, chills, and fatigue requiring medical attention if the sunburn is serious enough.
Most minor sunburns, however, can be treated at home using items you already have around the house. There are a few different options.
- Use compresses – Immediately after getting sunburned, the skin is often inflamed. You can minimize the inflammation by applying a compress. Try dipping a cloth in cold water and applying for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. For inflammation, you can also apply witch hazel with a cloth or cotton balls. For relief from itching, apply a powder with aluminum acetate.
- Apply natural remedies – For pain that often accompanies sunburn, you can apply several natural remedies either directly on the burn or via a cloth. These household items include water and oatmeal, boiled lettuce, yogurt, tea bags soaked in cool water, cornstarch with enough water to be mixed into a paste, and fat-free milk mixed with water and ice cubes.
- Take a bath – It’s important to never use soap following a burn. Soap dries and irritates the skin that’s already been damaged. Avoid bubble baths and soaking in soapy water. Instead, rinse the skin with cool (not hot) water, and consider soaking the affected area in cool water. You can also soothe the pain by adding baking soda or vinegar to the bath.
- Use Moisturizers – Sunburned skin is dried out, so it makes sense to add moisture back to your skin by applying moisturizing lotion. (Lotion with aloe is a plus.) Be sure to drink lots of water to add moisture back into your body as well. It also helps to eat a balanced diet to provide the nutrients your body needs to heal.
- Get some rest – Your body will need lots of rest in order to heal. However, sleeping on a sunburn can be a challenge. Sprinkle talcum powder on the sheets to make your bed more Plus, satin sheets can help provide relief to dry, itchy skin.
Of course, prevention is the best way to minimize the damage that sunburns can do. Use sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 when going outside. Reapply sunscreen as necessary, especially after sweating and swimming. Wear protective clothing like hats that shade your face and lightweight fabrics. Try to avoid the hours between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the sun is strongest.