There are plenty of seemingly miracle remedies advertised out there for treating sunburn, but how can you know which ones truly have scientific backing? For those who may have forgotten to apply enough sunscreen before heading outdoors, here are some of the best treatments and remedies for sunburn.
Aloe vera gel
The sap from the aloe vera plant is an effective, natural method for treating sunburn. Aloe vera has an immediate cooling and calming effect on the skin, and it helps to seal valuable moisture in the skin, which works to prevent dehydration promote faster healing. Aloe vera is even an ingredient in many skincare products for sensitive skin because of how it can soothe irritation. Some apply aloe vera sap straight from the plant, but if doing this it’s important to test the sap on a small area of skin first to see how it reacts. Otherwise, an aloe vera gel kept cool in the fridge is an option recommended by many dermatologists.
Apple cider vinegar, oddly enough, can be effective for treating sunburn, as it is an antiseptic and cools the skin as it evaporates. When applying to the skin, however, such as with a wet compress, it’s best to dilute it with water to a 1:1 ratio to prevent any stinging. You can also take a vinegar bath in order to enjoy the healing benefits of vinegar.
Similarly, skim milk has long been used on the skin to help soothe pain, itching, and burning. You can apply milk to the skin with either a swiping motion or with a wet compress.
A simple cold compress is a great option for soothing pain caused by sunburn and helping to offset the warm sensation of the skin so often associated with sunburn. The key here is not to apply ice (or frozen peas) directly to the skin, as this could be too harsh on the skin. Instead, offset the ice with a towel for a gentler application. A cold shower is another option.
Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and aspirin can help to relieve pain caused by sunburn for those more extreme cases when sunburn is particularly painful. As always with medication, it’s highly important to use only as directed.
Of course, the best way to avoid the pain and damage of sunburn is to prevent it altogether. Exercise smart practices when going out in the sun, wearing a sufficient zinc oxide sunscreen, clothing to protect the skin, and sunglasses and a hat as smart, shading accessories. Even regularly taking vitamins E and C can work as a preventative measure against sunburn, as these vitamins can act as antioxidants to help heal oxidative damage to skin cells.