It’s summertime, and for a lot of fair-skinned people, that means one thing: sunburns galore! While prevention is key (remember your SPF 30!), there are lots of ways to treat a sunburn, lessening its severity and discomfort, and helping it to heal faster. Here are my top 4 tips for sunburn aftercare.
1. Aloe Vera: The Old Standby
Aloe vera is one of those plants almost everyone knows. This spiky member of the succulent family produces a goopy gel when its thick leaves are broken open. Aloe vera gel has been used for millennia to treat minor burns and skin irritation. The gel is gentle and easily absorbed by the skin. It provides a cooling effect and diminishes the stinging or aching sensation of sunburns, and may promote faster healing and less peeling or blistering.
Aloe vera gel can be purchased from most pharmacies and grocery stores. You can also buy yourself an aloe plant from many garden centers if you prefer to use the gel ‘straight from the source’!
Chances are, you have a box of this silky white powder kicking around in your pantry. Make a thin paste of cornstarch and cool water. Apply it directly to the sunburned area. The velvety texture and cool temperature of this mixture will provide temporary relief to hot, throbbing sunburns.
3. Cooling Mint
If you’ve ever had a bad chest cold, you might have used Vick’s VapoRub. If you haven’t it’s a thick, petroleum jelly based balm that’s infused with a heavy dose of menthol, the chemical compound found in mint that gives it that tingly, cooling sensation. VapoRub might be a little too intense for sunburns, but the cooling power of menthol is perfect for relieving sunburn discomfort. Try brewing a very strong mint tea, using tea bags or fresh mint from the garden. Soak a cloth, some cotton balls, or makeup remover pads in the strong tea after it’s cooled, and dab the affected area. You’ll notice a gentle cooling sensation that won’t irritate your skin.
Cucumber is one of those wonder vegetables. It’s delicious, healthy, and good for your skin, too! Cucumbers contain a variety of vitamins, including vitamins C and K, both of which are great for skincare due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, respectively. It’s been suggested that cucumbers also provide a mild analgesic (pain killing) effect when applied topically. To treat a sunburn with cucumber, simply slice a lightly chilled cucumber and apply the slices directly to the affected skin.
There are plenty more natural ways to treat minor burns and sunburns. When treating sunburns, it’s important not to further irritate the skin, and provide it with plenty of moisturizing to aid in the recovery process. A soothing lotion or balm like my Little Mouse Sauce Gentle Calming Lotion, Fresh Cucumber Body Lotion, or Zeema Sauce Balm can help relieve the flaking, burning and irritation associated with sunburns.