With the arrival of summer comes an increase in outdoor activities. Whether it is trips to your local pool or beach, doing work around the yard, or those afternoon cookouts at the park, you are sure to become exposed to the sun.
Unfortunately, with all this time outdoors many people receive sunburns. Caused by over exposure to the UV rays that the sun puts out, these burns can range from mildly uncomfortable to severe. Some victims will only experience redness and swelling, others will have blistering of the skin, and the worst cases may also have dizziness and nausea. The severity of the burn can affect the severity of the pain and discomfort a sunburn victim feels.
If you have received a sunburn that is bad enough to cause blisters and swelling, you should see a dermatologist. At this point, the skin has become severely damaged, and because the skin is your first line of defense against bacteria and other foreign bodies, you are at an increased risk for an infection.
If you are willing to wear loose, cotton clothing, then there are some natural remedies that can help relieve the discomforts caused by a minor sunburn. The first thing to consider are some natural oils, which can help the skin to cool and regenerate.
Coconut oil makes a good natural skin moisturizer with no known side effects. Apply it to the skin both before and after showering to help protect the burn skin. When you dry off, use only very soft towels and a patting motion, not rubbing. Rubbing the skin can worsen the sunburn.
You can also use olive oil before and after bathing to help protect and moisturize the skin. Some sunburn victims also find that adding a little vinegar to the olive oil will help the effects.
A third oil option is to try sandalwood oil. Sandalwood oil works well for more severe sunburns, since the main component, santalol, has antimicrobial properties which can help prevent infection. By using the sandalwood oil on a regular basis, the santalol can help kill bacteria that might otherwise cause infection, as well as provide moisture to the skin.
Another option for moisturizing after a sunburn is aloe vera gel. You can often find aloe vera gel at your typical drug store in the same area you would find the sun tan lotions and oils. Aloe vera gel can help reduce the pain and swelling associated with a sunburn, causing it to be very soothing for those who spent too much time in the sun. The inner leaf of the aloe vera plant has also been shown to have healing properties, so it can help the skin to heal itself. It does not, however, protect from UV damage, so you still need an additional sunscreen when using it.
Of course, the best treatment for a sunburn is to prevent getting one in the first place. If your summer agenda includes time outdoors, be sure to take along sunscreen and reapply often, particularly after swimming or if you are sweating.