If you asked a thousand people if they have ever had a need for a sunburn treatment, they would all probably tell you yes. In spite of all the media coverage and health education classes in our schools concerning the dangers to over exposure to UV rays, we still accidentally get sunburns.
Typically, most sunburn occurs on beach vacations and outdoors events. We are enjoying being out in the sun, and we forget how few minutes it takes for our skin to be sunburned. Did you know that skin that is fair and hasn’t been exposed to the sun this year can be sunburned in less than thirty minutes?
Most sunburns are 1st or 2nd degree burns, but occasionally someone will sustain a 3rd degree burn.
This article discusses some of the simple at home sunburn treatments that can be confidently used to ease the pain and prevent further skin damage when you have sustained either a 1st or 2nd degree sunburn. For 3rd degree sunburns, you need a severe sunburn treatment administered by a professional medical person.
Briefly, 1st degree burns are red and painful, and 2nd degree burns are also red and painful, but they also have water blisters. 3rd degree burns are the most serious, but in addition to the symptoms of pain, redness and water bubbles, they also are characterized by patches of white skin. Do not fool around with 3rd degree burns at home, seek immediate ER help or see your primary care doctor right away.
If your sunburn is a 1st or 2nd degree burn, these are all proven ways to both ease the pain and curtail further skin damage:
- Apply cool compresses made from a soft towel to the affected sunburned areas. Be gentle when applying the compresses; avoid rubbing the tender red and possibly blistered skin. Lay the compress on the skin.
- Take cool baths or gentle showers. In no case should you take a warm or hot shower. The water should be “cool” rather than cold. If you can manage it, take oatmeal baths; they will soothe the skin and immediately ease the pain. These oatmeal baths work particularly well as an at home sunburn treatment.
- Leave the water bubbles intact. DO NOT BREAK THEM! The blisters form a protective layer and help prevent infection to the damaged skin. Choose the clothing you wear wisely; avoid clothing that will rub or press down on the blisters. If you are on a beach vacation, this may mean buying some loose fitting light colored soft clothing.
- Apply aloe jell, a light moisturizing cream, or you can even use an OTC hydro cortisone cream. Do not use heavy petroleum based products or butter. These will clog they pores and drive the heat in, and can lead to infection. Also, steer clear of products like benzocaine or other “caine” products as these anesthetic-containing products are known to be skin irritants in many cases, and there is not much proof that they are effective as a treatment for sunburn.
- Drink plenty of fluids such as water, sports drinks, and juices. Avoid sodas, beer, and any other form of alcoholic beverage, as these will only add to the dehydration caused by the sunburn.
- Take OTC anti-inflammatory medication like aspirin or Ibuprofen as directed on the package until the pain and redness go away.
Preventing sunburn is a common sense mind-set. Determine to avoid them in the future by putting together a sun-outing bag of some sort. Put hats, sunscreen, and sunglasses in the bag for the entire family, and then don’t leave home with out the bag. We keep our bag in the back of our SUV, which really makes it handy.
Of course, we all know that the best sunburn treatment is prevention, but if you do find yourself battling the effects of sunburn, these techniques will have you feeling and looking better in short order.