- First Aid
Sunburn Relief Remedies
Being out in the sun without sunscreen is never a good idea. I'm one of those people that always remembers to put it on my kids. But it always seems that after I do the three of them I always forget to do myself! I have ended up with a sunburn a couple of times. Normally it is nothing major, just a little red that turns to a nice tan in a day or two. However, this last trip to Myrtle Beach was another story.
We were only out on the beach in Myrtle Beach for about 2 hours and it was a nice over cast day. The sun was behind the clouds most of the time and there was a nice small breeze. I never thought I would get burnt to a crisp! When I got home I looked like a lobster. That night I was fine. The next morning, I couldn't hardly move! The second and third days were even worse!!! I turned to the Internet to find out what I could possibly do to help cool the burn and sooth the itch and I found a ton of information. Here are some things I have tried and others I will keep in mind for the future.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera - This is a plant from northern Africa that is great to have around the house (however, it is poisonous). We had one growing up that my mom would use on my mosquito bites. Just break a little part off, put the juice on the bite and it would quit itching. Now this aloe vera comes in lotions and gels and helps with soothing, moisturizing, and healing when applied directly to a sunburned area. This is the most common use for sunburns.
Baking Soda - Take a bath in baking soda and water to help sooth a sunburn. Fill the tub with cool water, add 1-2 cups of baking soda, and soak for 30 minutes. When you get out of the tub, try to air dry. If you use a towel it will rub all the baking soda off.
Cabbage - Put the cabbage in a food processor and mash it up until it is a nice paste. Apply to the sunburn to relieve pain and speed up healing.
Cucumbers - Not just great for the eyes and face, cucumbers are also great for soothing and healing a sunburn. Grate cucumbers and mix them with some milk to form a paste and apply to the sunburn. You can also just slice the cucumber and put the slices directly onto the burn.
Lavender Oil - Wet your skin with cold water and then apply 1-2 drops of lavender oil to the sun-burnt areas.
Meat Tenderizer - Mixing meat tenderizer with water and applying it to the sunburn helps sooth the itching of a sunburn. This also works for rashes.
Oatmeal - Oatmeal is a huge hit in my house. It is one of the main things that have helped with sunburns and rashes. Fill the bathtub with cool water and add 2 cups of regular oatmeal. Soak your body for 30 minutes and it helps to sooth and heal your sunburn.
Potatoes - You can peel the potatoes and use their skins to put on your sunburn (with the whole potato still being edible, could be for dinner!) or you can mash the potatoes and apply them onto the sunburn. Either way it will help sooth and heal the sunburn.
Stay Hydrated - The best thing you can do for your sunburn is to make sure you drink water. Staying hydrated will help your body get back the moisture that the sunburn is taking away from you body. Granted, this alone probably can't heal your sunburn but it will help it heal faster.
Tea - I just recently read about this one and everyone seems to love it. You boil a pan/pot of tea, really strong, using 4-6 tea bags. Put it in the refrigerator and let it cool then use towels (the tea will stain the towels) and dip them into the tea, ring them out, and place them directly on the sunburn. If you don't have towels that you want stained with tea it might be best to put the tea into a spray bottle and spray directly onto the sunburn. I've heard a lot of great things about using tea on sunburns so this is what I will try next time (hopefully there isn't a next time but just in case).
Vitamin E Creams
Vinegar - I'm not real fond of the smell of vinegar so I'm not sure this one is for me but some people say this works great. Use half vinegar and half water to soak a clean towel in. Wring the towel out and apply it to the sunburned area (just like the tea). You can also use a spray bottle with half vinegar and half water and spray that onto the sunburn. If using vinegar you want to avoid any broken skin (blisters, etc) and avoid your eyes.
Vitamin E - Another one I personally know helps. Buy the Vitamin E cream at any local store. Make sure it doesn't have any harsh chemicals in it as some are not straight Vitamin E. Apply the cream two to three times a day and it will accelerate the healing process of the sunburn and help prevent any scaring that may occur. (Also works great for stretch marks with pregnancies)
My advice to you - If you are going to be out in the sun during the day, whether it is just out window shopping or going to the beach or swimming pool, put on sunscreen. It is best to reapply your sunscreen every 1 - 1 1/2 hours. SPF 15 does not work as well with keeping the sun off your body as an SPF 75 does. I always use SPF 45 on me and my kids and reapply every hour and a half. My kids have never come home with a sunburn! If you use the spray sunscreen (the kind you don't have to rub in) I would reapply that every hour if you are in and out of the water. It's easy to miss spots with the spray.