Friday,22 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1404, (2 - 8 August 2018)
Friday,22 February, 2019
Issue 1404, (2 - 8 August 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Beating sunburn

Beating sunburn
Beating sunburn

Feeling a little red-faced after spending a wonderful day at the beach? Unfortunately, there’s no magic spell to reverse what’s already happened. Even if you’ve slathered on sunblock religiously, ultraviolet rays from the sun can still sneak through and leave you with a painful, itchy red burn.
Though sensible sun exposure is essential to prevent vitamin D deficiency, too much sun or other ultraviolet light can lead to damaging sunburn that could increase the risk of skin cancer and premature wrinkles.

It’s always best to avoid sunburn in the first place. At the first signs of too much sun, it’s recommended to head for the shade, grab a glass of iced water, and apply a cool compress to the affected areas for immediate relief. You may also take a pain-relieving medication in the initial hours after you have got burned to ease the inflammation and reduce pain.

Sun damage will make your skin extra sensitive, so try to avoid acidic skincare lotions. Don’t use any physical or chemical exfoliates for a few days. If you have spent too much time in the sun and are in need of sunburn relief, you can eat a diet rich in lycopene, omega 3s, or hydrating foods to help naturally prevent sunburn. Or you can opt for natural sunburn relief.

Try these natural ways to fight the sting and enjoy some relief:

Essential oils: Peppermint and lavender oil can help combat sunburn. Peppermint oil is a natural analgesic, and in addition to soothing burnt areas it can also help with the after-sun headache some people suffer from. Lavender oil reduces the sting of burns as well as redness. It also speeds up healing because of its antimicrobial properties. You can incorporate both lavender and peppermint oils, along with aloe vera juice and coconut oil, to make a soothing sunburn-fighting remedy.

Oatmeal: Some of the food in your kitchen can help fight sunburn, and oatmeal is proven to relieve itchy skin and reduce inflammation as the burns heal. Blend dry oats in a food processor. Add a cup of a finely ground oatmeal to warm bath water and spend some quality time soaking.

Milk: You can either create a cold compress by immersing a washcloth in chilled milk and applying it directly to the burnt areas or add about a cup of ice-cold milk to a cool bath and soak to reduce the pain and heat you are experiencing from sunburn.

Cornstarch: This can reduce the painful rubbing that occurs when inflamed skin sticks to the sheets at night. Sprinkling cornstarch over the sheets will reduce the friction and create a barrier between your skin and the sheets, allowing for more comfortable sleep if your sunburn is exceptionally painful.

Yoghurt: Choose full-fat, plain yoghurt and apply it gently on sunburnt areas with a washcloth. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then wash off in the shower. Yoghurt’s probiotics will help moisturise your skin and reduce the pain.

Black tea: This is great at reducing sunburn’s redness and quickening the recovery process. In a bowl, soak a few bags of black tea until the water is black. Use a washcloth to apply it to the affected areas and don’t rinse. The tannic acid in the tea eases the heat and provides much-needed relief.

Apple cider vinegar: Add a cup of apple cider vinegar to a cool bath along with a quarter of a cup of coconut oil and a few drops of lavender oil for a healing soak. You can also make a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle or dip a washcloth into the solution and dab it on the affected areas to soothe your burnt skin.

Hydrating food: When you’re in the midst of your sunburn-relief routine, your body is desperate for moisture. Speed up the process by drinking plenty of water and electrolyte-rich drinks. Snack on fruits like oranges and watermelons that are high in vitamin C and promote healing.

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