Who hasn’t lost track of time on the beach, only to return home to burnt, painful shoulders and a cherry-red nose? Of course, no remedy takes the place of practicing safe sun and you should avoid the damage that over-exposure will cause. We know you promise to protect your skin next time, but for now, these simple home remedies will help provide soothing relief.
Take a Quick and Cool Bath
Enjoy a short soak in gently cooled water, softened with plain, unflavored oatmeal flakes or dissolved baking soda. Avoid taking a too-long soak which might further dry out your skin and don’t make the water too cold or too hot. Indulge in a 20-minute tub once a day until your skin loses its angry red blush. Either gently dab or air dry your skin. You can also use baking soda or oatmeal as cool wash cloth compresses for gentle relief between baths.
Anyone with a sunny window sill can take this tip from the West Indies – aloe cools down burnt skin and helps heal surface damage. Growing the plant will provide fresh aloe anytime you slice open a leaf. Simply apply the sticky gel directly to the burnt area and let it dry there, up to 10 times a day. Aloe comes in handy for kitchen burns, too.
Moisturize Your Skin
A gentle, non-fragranced moisturizer tenderly applied to skin will help it heal and feel softer and less scratchy to the touch. Cooking oils such as coconut, olive, avocado or almond can also be gently applied but should never be used instead of sunscreen when you go outside. Do not apply moisturizer or oil if your skin is cracked and open or blistered, in which case, an antibiotic should be applied with clean fingers instead.
Make it Tea Time
Drinking lots of water or cool, minted tea will help your skin regain some of its lost moisture and keep you hydrated and more comfortable. You can also brew up a strong batch of black tea, using 3 – 5 bags per teapot. Let the tea cool down completely. Soak gauze pads in the mixture and place on your skin before bedtime. Do not wash off. You can also place soaked tea bags directly on your skin several times a day.
Check Your Fridge
Simple ingredients you probably have in your refrigerator can help provide sunburn relief. If you have white vinegar or a fresh container of milk, you can cool your skin down and help start the healing process without having to make a trip to the drug store. Make sure you use sterile gauze pads or clean wash cloths and gently apply to the skin for fifteen minute intervals as many times as needed during the day. Just remember to bring your sunscreen with you next time.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.