First off, it is important to note that sunburning is not a successful method of tanning and is both physically painful and in regards to your health, extremely dangerous. Although the “golden tan” many beachgoers covet can appear when burnt skin peels away, the effects of this sketchy method can be devastating. The Skin Cancer Foundation explains that “By damaging the skin’s cellular DNA, excessive UV radiation produces genetic mutations that can lead to skin cancer”. Testing your luck by not sunscreen can have adverse effects in the future.
The sun has been around for over four billion years, emitting ultraviolet rays directly on the Earth. It’s true that the sun means business and even a half hour without protective measures under direct light can leave you feeling like you have sandpaper skin for several days. So, if you do find yourself unlucky enough to be red in the face, and chafed everywhere else after this spring break, for your own good, do not let it happen again. But for now, here’s what to do:
1) Lay off the Products:
Exfoliation and moisturization may feel like your friends are removing dead and burnt skin, but they could actually be doing more harm than good. You want to stick with the basics when treating a burn, excessive chemicals found in top-shelf products could cause your skin to react negatively in ways it would not have normally. Instead, try soaking in a cold bath with a cup of apple cider vinegar. Although there are no scientific conclusions that prove apple cider vinegar is effective, many people claim relief from the solution. Success Rate: ☆☆☆
2) The Classic Aloe Spoon:
Green and juicy this cactus has recently hit the market not only as a miracle remedy, but a life changing supplement, however, aloe’s ancient discoverers were actually the first to praise its glory. Ancient Egyptians buried their pharaohs along with bundles of aloe, calling it the“plant of immortality” while the first African hunters stayed fresh with aloe based deodorants. However, it was the Greeks, Chinese and Romans who uncovered the plants soothing effects for bites, scratches, and burns. The modern-day sun-soaker can enjoy the latter benefit with refrigerated aloe, which can provide instant relief for burns, but can become addictive – leaving the user sticky and unsatisfied. (Pro-tip: make aloe ice cubes by filling a tray with aloe and freezing overnight!) Success Rate: ☆☆☆☆
3) Drink Water!!!:
Laying out in the sun and sweating already puts your body in a dehydrated state. Additionally, the burn is dry and sucks moisture away from the skin so replenishing your body with water will help you on the inside and out. Plus, it’s just good for you in general.
Success Rate: ☆☆☆☆☆
4) Apply Yogurt, Cucumber, and Tea Bags:
Many bloggers conclude that yogurt and other dairy products on the skin can be soothing. However, a milk-based soak or shower afterward is recommended. Cucumber has also been said to be rejuvenating but, aloe is far superior. Lastly, tea bags can be used post-brew on burnt eyelids to help alleviate pain on this, particularly sensitive area. All in all you are better off sticking to traditional aloe vera and ice compression methods.
Success Rate: ☆☆
Now that you know the remedies for alleviating sun-inflicted pain, here are some of the preventative measures one can take to navigate their sunburnt existence:
1) Do Not Peel:
Your skin has nerve endings that are attached to the healthy skin. Peeling, though satisfying, can prove painful towards the end of a strip. More importantly, peeling exposes the freshly growing skin to bacteria and could lead to infections. The pesky layer of flaky dead skin you so badly want to remove is actually a protective armour for your body trying to regenerate an organ that has become sunburned. Treat your skin with respect, let it stay.
Prevention Rating: ☆☆☆☆
2) Wear Loose Fitting Clothes, It’s Trendy:
Anyone with a nasty sunburn will let you know that a simple pat on the back can leave them in agony and that any clothes can lead to nasty chafing and extended periods of pain. But since it’s socially inappropriate to venture out in the nude, a clothing compromise has been reached. Ill-fitting cotton long sleeve shirts and baggy shorts/skirts are your friends along with hats and visors. It is essential to limit your sun exposure through coverage while maintaining comfort. (Pro-tip: wearing black and grey is easier on the eyes, colors like red and orange only amplify your sunburnt bod).
Prevention Rating: ☆☆
3) Don’t Reburn:
You did not wear sunscreen and now you are paying the price, but you’re smarter than the fiery, relentless ball in the sky this time! Lather up kid, sunburns are not a one-time thing and reburning skin can lead to pus-filled blisters and raw, bleeding areas. If you don’t believe me google it. You’ll regret it.
Prevention Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
These have been some tips to help your burnt self-recover and alleviate some relentless pain, peeling and scratching.
And although all of us cold weather spring breakers are glad you had an amazing time in your tropical destination vacation, this year we do still feel it’s a little karmic that you can’t sit down in your chair without wriggling in pain. You seemed to take a little too much of your spring break home with you.
But, facetiousness aside, sunburns are the bane of vacation existence, and all of us common folk do pity your red, agonous, post-beach bum experience. Next time you go to the beach we just hope you do it right!
*Success and Prevention Rates based on personal experience of author and peers.
header image: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/471118810990387275/