How to Get Rid of Sunburn
Providing you know how sun sensitive your skin is, take steps to bolster its natural defenses and avoid excessive exposure, burning should not occur. However, it may be difficult to gauge the burning power of the sun. If in doubt always over-protect because sunburn is to be avoided at all costs.
When skin receives an overdose of UV radiation, free radicals are generated which rampage through the epidermal cells. They respond by releasing chemicals which cause inflammation and swelling. Burning is not immediately obvious. It may be four to six hours before the skin starts to turn pink. It then becomes progressively more hot, prickly and can be agonizing.
If a large area of skin is burnt, water is lost through the skin and this can lead to dehydration, even heat-stroke. In some cases blisters appear and although the burning sensation subsides in two or three days, the skin may then start peeling to get rid of damaged cells.
Badly scalded areas of skin are sites where skin cancers often develop, albeit many years later. There is evidence that sharp sunburn shocks, especially in childhood, increase the risk of developing skin cancer so it is essential to protect children's fair skin.
If you do get sunburnt, stay out of the sun until the pinkness and pain have disappeared. If you do venture out, cover up sunburnt areas completely and, even after the sunburn has faded, slather these areas with a high SPF sunscreen.
- Be sure to use enough sunscreen — you will need at least 1 teaspoon for your face to get adequate coverage. Applying too thinly reduces the actual SPF. Remember to reapply at least every hour.
- Help take the heat out of the skin with tepid baths and showers.
- A folk cure for sunburn involves applying natural yoghurt to the skin. Aloe vera gel also soothes inflammation and replaces lost moisture. Add 6 drops of healing lavender essence to a tablespoon of aloe vera gel and dab a little on to burnt areas.
- Drink lots of pure spring water and freshly squeezed juices to replenish lost fluids and minerals.
- Flood the skin with antioxidants from within and without. Try bathing burnt areas with green tea or make a compress by soaking muslin in the tea, wringing out the excess and laying over the skin. Creams containing vitamin C may help to undo some of the damage caused by burning.
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