Finally, summer is there!! Beach, pool, barbecues, playing with the kids, so much fun under the sun but…. spending too much time under the sun can cause sunburns. Here are 5 steps to take if you have this problem.
1. Act quickly: As soon as you feel the tingle of a burn or see the pinkness in your skin, please don’t wait, take action now. It can take 4 to 6 hours before a sunburn is fully apparent. Get out of the sun! Start cool compresses on the affected areas.
2. Asses the damage: Most sunburns, even those that cause a few blisters (less than 20% of the body), can be treated at home. But if you have blisters, you can ask your pharmacist before treating the burn yourself. If a blistering burn covers more than 20% of your body, you should see a doctor. If you suffer fevers and chills, you should also see a doctor.
3. Treat your skin: Start by taking a cool bath or shower, then apply a calming lotion. Apply generously and repeat often. You can easily find specific lotions for sunburn at your drugstore. Ask your pharmacist which one is better for you. If you have a very mild sunburn, you can use an after-sun lotion or cream (you can find a lot of different brands in the cosmetics department). I remember using Solarcaïne spray when I was young and it worked well, but one of the ingredients is less popular these days: Benzocaïne. It can cause allergic reactions or skin hypersensitivity. Now I mostly use aloe vera gels. Pay attention to the ingredient list if you buy an aloe vera gel. Sometimes, the aloe vera juice is at the end of the list, which means it doesn’t contain a lot of the interesting part! I prefer Aloex. It’s a bit more expansive, but it contains 96,8% aloe vera from leaf gel. It’s more effective. You can also use Bioderma Cicabio Creme – Soothing repairing cream, which restores the epidermis and relieves the discomfort. For more severe burn with itching and pain, ask your pharmacist for hydrocortisone cream. Never scratch your burn.
4. Don’t wait to medicate: Over the counter medications can help if you have symptoms like swelling or redness. Ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) are anti-inflammatory pain medication, so they can reduce symptoms at the source. Antihistamines (such as Benadryl) may also treat the severity of the symptoms.
5. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water, juice or sports drinks (like Gatorade) to prevent dehydration, for several days. Gastrolyte or Pedialyte can also work well. Dehydration can occur very fast under the sun! Sign to look for: dry mouth, thirst, reduced urination (your urine may be darker), headache, sleepiness or dizziness.
Until you feel better, forget the beach or the pool (or wear clothes over the affected area). Rest at home and watch TV or sleep to recover fast. Take your sunburn as a warning that your sun-safety net has failed and vow do better. Remember that Sun=Danger.
To learn more about safe tanning and how to choose a good sunscreen, please read my articles :
Enjoy the sun in a healthy way!