Sadly, we have all been there as it seems to be a rite of passage in enjoying your summer. And while there’s plenty of research and studies out there that prove daily use of sunscreen and sunblock are necessary for ALL ages and genders (parents, it’s not just for your kids, but YOU too!), a bad sunburn can sometimes happen when you either forget to apply before rushing out the door, or simply don’t use enough. Since there are so many articles and information readily available to you that talk about how to choose sunscreen and sunblock wisely, I’ll focus instead on daily care for a sunburn. This can be vital, especially in helping to determine 1) how severe it is and 2) how to calm skin down. The products I’ll be talking about are safe enough for kids and adults to use, but the since adults tend to be more forgetful about putting sunscreen on (or worse don’t think they need it) I’ll be speaking directly about the care that needs to be taken for men and women. Unfortunately, alcohol can increase skin’s sensitivity to UV exposure, so all-inclusive beach vacations require skincare to be taken seriously to ensure you can actually enjoy your time off. And don’t even get me started on the idea of going to get a “base” tan at your local tanning bed salon before a vacation – bottom line, it’s not a good thing to do. You are just that much closer to direct UV damage.
If your sunburnt skin is blistering and you get chills, or start feeling nauseous, then you need to seek immediate medical attention. The combination of these conditions do require medical staff to help and prevent further health issues. Otherwise, red, pink and swollen skin needs to have cold compresses or ice packs applied, kept away from more sun exposure, and it’s wise to drink lots of water and take pain relievers. But then there’s usually the dreaded question – “what happens when I get into the shower”, and “how bad is it going to sting?” First, I recommend taking colder or lukewarm showers for the next few days so that your skin is not additionally stressed. Having a sunburn often throws off your skin’s ability to regulate temperature correctly, so taking your usual hot shower will only make you feel worse and your skin a brighter shade of “lobster”.
Second, if you normally use a scented body wash or soap with synthetic fragrances or deodorant built in, that will most likely increase irritation or redness. Synthetic fragrances are one of the #1 causes of allergic reactions or rashes on skin, and having a sunburn significantly decreases your skin’s ability to defend itself against irritants. Bottom line, ditch any of your coconut + lime verbena or cucumber melon body washes with loads of synthetic fragrance, and stick to unscented moisturizing soap or body washes that contain a soothing blend of oats and vitamin E. This will make a huge difference in helping your skin to heal, and reduce redness. One of my favorites is Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Body Wash (below) or Dove’s Sensitive Skin bar soap. African Black Soap is also naturally deodorizing by containing charcoal, so it’s perfect for eliminating summer sweat while caring for sunburnt skin.
And lastly, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. A sunburn basically throws off the equilibrium of your skin, and your body’s natural defense is to try and shed this damaged skin as soon as possible. This speeds up your skin’s normal routine of shedding skin cells, as well as effectively drying out the excess, damaged skin as your body tries to repair itself. Peeling skin should NOT be picked. You can gently buff it away in the shower with a body puff or washcloth, but be very careful to not scrub it off harshly. After toweling dry, make sure to moisturize effectively with fragrance-free lotion – look for formulas like Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing lotion (above) that contains colloidal oats and dimethicone to protect and soothe skin. Putting a lotion on with synthetic fragrances can cause little red bumps and additional stinging – it’s best to avoid them. Many people will automatically think to apply aloe gels, and while they can help, you truly need moisturizers that work to repair the skin’s natural moisture barrier which minimizes peeling.
But what happens if your face is also affected by sunburn? I have found that First Aid Beauty’s entire line up is perfect for repairing hyper-sensitive and sunburnt skin, and also contains the ingredients I just mentioned are beneficial in body care. These are some of my favorites (below) from their product line, as you can use them on your face and body for cleansing and moisturizing: Ultra Repair Lotion and Ultra Repair Gentle Cleansing Bar. These formulas contain oats, ceramides, and a blend of antioxidants to repair damage and immediately calm skin. In addition, I’ve been LOVING their 5 in 1 Eye Cream – it’s gentle and effective, and does not cause any stinging. A day of sailing in summer often causes my eyes to feel dry, irritated, and itchy; and this eye cream soothes and brightens my eye area skin tone.
A few simple switches to these products during summer, or on a beach vacation, can make all the difference in helping to soothe skin. I always preach about using a daily sunscreen, but it’s often the daily skincare that can make a big difference in how fast you heal. Plus, the benefits with making a full switch to products that have these skin-caring attributes means that your skin will be healthier in the long run, and avoid blotchiness or redness any time of the year. You can easily find these brands at ULTA, or online at various retailers. Another plus that is they are safe for the family, so you can maximize your dollar by having products on hand that everyone can use. Stay safe and enjoy your last weeks of summer!
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