How To Treat Sunburn
How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast
Treating sunburns is harder than preventing them. However, half of all U.S. adults aged 18 – 29 report experiencing at least one sunburn per year.To get rid of sunburn fast,immediately take a cool shower, treat the burn with aloe or a deep moisturizer, and keep your skin hydratedby drinking more water in the days that follow; use other home treatments, like cold compresses, moistened/cooled tea bags, and pain relievers, as needed to ease discomfort and promote healing. All sunburns cause damage to your skin, so you should also work on avoiding them in the future.
Upon realizing you are burned, get out of the sun immediately.Each second of additional sun exposure will worsen your burn. Going indoors is best. But if this is impossible move into the shadiest nearby spot.
- Beach umbrellas provide little protection from UV rays unless they are very large and made of dense fabric.
- Sun exposure to can occur even in the shade, as UV rays reflect off surfaces and penetrate through everything from clouds to leaves.
Take a cool shower or bath.The water will cool your skin and may help reduce the severity of your burn. Avoid using soap because it will irritate and dry out your skin. Afterwards, let yourself air-dry. Using a towel may cause discomfort and chafing.
- If you must use a towel, pat your skin lightly rather than rubbing it
Apply an aloe vera gel or deep moisturizer.Spread it across your sunburn to moisturize and cool your skin. Repeat this step frequently, or at least twice daily, to reduce dryness and peeling.
- Consider using a lotion or gel that contains Vitamin C and E, as this may reduce skin damage.
- Avoid products that are oily or contain alcohol.
- If you have access to an aloe vera plant, you can obtain gel straight from the leaves. Simply cut off a leaf, slice it length-wise with a knife, squeeze out the gel inside, and apply it to your burn.
- Gel obtained directly from an aloe vera plant is extremely concentrated, natural, and effective.
Drink plenty of water.Prolonged sun exposure and heat causes dehydration. A sunburn also draws water to your skin’s surface and away from the rest of your body.Remember to drink extra water for the next few days.
- Go beyond the daily recommendation of eight glasses of water until your sunburn has healed, especially if you continue to be in hot weather or participate in sports or other activities that cause you to sweat.
Conventional At-Home Treatments
Make a cold compress and apply it your sunburn.Wrap several ice cubes or a freezer pack in a wet cloth. Then lightly press the cloth against the sunburned area for 15 to 20 minutes multiple times a day.
- Remember that ice or other frozen substances should not be pressed directly against your skin. Doing so may cause an ice-burn and only make matters worse.
Consider taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen (Advil).Ibuprofen will reduce pain, swelling, and redness, and may even prevent some long-term skin damage. Once started, continue taking this medication for 48 hours
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may relieve the pain of a sunburn, but does not have the same anti-inflammatory effects as ibuprofen.
Change into loose fitting clothing.Avoid fabrics that are rough or itchy. For most people, light cotton is best.
- Protect your sunburn by keeping it covered when you go outside. Wear a hat, carry a parasol, and wear fabrics that are tightly woven.
- In addition, make sure you wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply ever two hours.
Close your blinds and try to lower the temperature of your home.If you have air-conditioning, turn it on. Even without air-conditioning, fans can significantly reduce your body temperature, especially when they are blowing directly towards your sunburn.
- Basements are the best places in a home to recover from sunburns, as they are generally cool and protected from sunlight.
Natural At-Home Treatments
Steep several black tea bags in hot water.Allow the water to cool (add ice to speed up the process). Remove the tea bags from the water and place them directly on your sunburn. The tannins in the tea will help reduce inflammation. You can also apply the cool tea to the entire area of the burn.
- Tannins are a natural astringent, and studies show that they help to heal burns and prevent infection.
Pour 1 cup of plain yogurt into a bowl.Mix with 4 cups of water. Dip a wet cloth in the yogurt mixture, and apply it to your sunburn for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat every 2 to 4 hours.
- Plain yogurt contains many probiotics and enzymes that will help to heal sunburned skin.
- Make sure the yogurt is truly plain rather than vanilla, which contains unwanted sugar and fewer probiotics.
Generously sprinkle at least one cup of baking soda into a cool bath.Soak in the bath, and after exiting let the baking soda solution dry on your skin. It will soothe the pain and help heal your skin
- Baking soda has both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. This means that it will help reduce inflammation and prevent infection..
Pass cold water through a sieve containing dry oatmeal, and collect the water in a bowl.Discard the oatmeal and soak up the solution with a cloth. Use the cloth to apply the solution to your sunburn every two to four hours.
- Oatmeal contains chemicals known as saponins which will clean your skin while moisturizing it at the same time.
QuestionCan I go back in the sun after having sunburn?
Family Medicine PhysicianFamily Medicine PhysicianExpert AnswerNo, I would not return to the sun. If you have to go outside again, wear a high SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen that covers both UVA and UVB sunlight. In addition, you will want to wear cotton clothing to cover the body, as well as a a hat.Thanks!
QuestionWhat can I do to make the unbearable itching on my sunburn stop?
Family Medicine PhysicianFamily Medicine PhysicianExpert AnswerYou might want to take an antihistamine or cetirizine. Apply aloe liberally.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I know if my sunburn is healing?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf your skin is no longer painful to the touch, and if the redness and flaking has lessened, then your sunburn is healing.Thanks!
QuestionHow do you know how bad it is?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf it's really red, you've probably burned more than one layer. A lighter color such as pink is only a minor burn.Thanks!
QuestionWill taking a cold bath help?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. It will cool the burn and make it hurt less. If your skin feels tight after taking a cold bath, apply vitamin E or aloe vera.Thanks!
QuestionCan I use these same techniques to treat sunburn on my face?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, you can use these same techniques for your face. Just be sure to avoid your eyes with the Aloe Vera or any other lotions you might use.Thanks!
QuestionDo I have to follow these steps the day I get burned, or can I do it the next day?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou will see some success if you follow these steps a day or two after you get sunburned, but you will probably see better results if you do it the same day.Thanks!
QuestionI have a sunburn on my face. What's the best way to make it at least look better?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTreat your skin with aloe and cold water every half hour until you notice an improvement.Thanks!
QuestionHow long does it usually take if my skin is very visibly red?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt should take a week or two. If it takes longer while using these methods, consult a doctor.Thanks!
QuestionI look like a tomato, and I can't get comfortable. What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPut on some lotion made for sensitive skin and sleep with sheets instead of regular blankets. These will be cooling and not irritate the skin. You may also want to wear loose clothing and take a cool shower.Thanks!
To get rid of a sunburn fast, take a cool shower or bath to cool your skin, but avoid using soap, which can dry out your sunburn. Afterward, let yourself air-dry, since using a towel may cause discomfort. Apply an aloe vera gel or a deep moisturizer at least twice daily to reduce dryness and peeling. In addition, drink more than the recommended 8 glasses of water daily to keep your skin hydrated until your burn heals.
- Stop using makeup, oily lotions, or fragrances for several days after getting sunburned.
- Store aloe vera based lotions or gels in the fridge for extra comfort.
- Avoid using acne medications, because they will further dry out your skin and make it redder.
- Ensure that the lotions or gels you apply do not contain alcohol, which can dry out the skin.
- Do not use butter, petroleum jelly (Vaseline), or other oil-based products to moisturize. They may block your pores, prevent heat from escaping, or cause infections.
- Especially while sunburned, liberally apply sunscreen of at least 30 SPF any time you go outside. Also wear a hat and long sleeves.
- If blisters form do not pick at them and clean the area around them with an antibacterial solution.
- Coconut body lotion, which is not oily, helps as same as Aloe Vera body lotion!
- Vinegar and cotton balls. Put vinegar in the cotton balls and apply to the burned area. This will remove the redness and sooth the sting.
- In severe cases, you may need to seek medical attention. If you get fever or flu-like symptoms, you may have sunstroke — a potentially serious condition.
- Taking hot showers may be painful with your sunburn.
- Visit the doctor if sunburn blisters cover a large portion of your body or if a blister gets infected.
Sources and Citations
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of How to Get Rid of Sunburn Fast was reviewed by on August 24, 2019.
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