HOME REMEDIES FOR SUNBURN: HOW TO TREAT, CURE SUNBURN DARK SKIN FAST
There is an increase in the number of skin cancer cases in the world today. It is estimated that more than 5 million hospital visits in the U.S are skin cancer cases. Researchers suggest that prolonged exposure to sunlight can be one of the underlying causes of skin cancer.
Also, the Skin Cancer Foundation reports that about 90% of all benign skin cancer cases in the U.S are attributed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun i.e. sunburn.
While sunburn is perceived as a minor condition, it has been linked with an increased risk of other skin conditions including skin cancer as mentioned above.
In this article, we shall be looking at ways of treating sunburn at home using simple methods.
What is sunburn?
Sunburn is a condition of reddening or browning of the skin due to exposure to the rays of the sun. In some cases, there can be an inflammation of the skin along with the browning.
That said, exposure to a source of ultraviolet light can also cause sunburn. An example of a UV light source is a tanning bed.
Causes of sunburn
As already stated, sunburn is primarily caused by exposing the skin to sunlight, specifically the ultraviolet rays of the sun. These UV rays from the sun destroy the affected skin cells by first damaging the DNA of the cells.
On exposure to sunlight, the skin produces melanin, which is a pigment that protects the inner layers of the skin. You can view melanin as a natural sunscreen – the body’s way of shielding the skin from the dangerous rays of the sun. It is this melanin that indirectly causes the redness or browning of the skin after sunburn. In addition to the release of melanin in the skin, the body also allows more blood to reach the affected skin leading to the reddening of the skin.
That said, melanin is also responsible for the skin color of people. People with a lot of melanin have dark skin and are less likely to get sunburn. Light-skinned people, on the other hand, have very little melanin and hence, are more prone to sunburn than people with dark skin.
Signs or symptoms of sunburn
Depending on the length of period of exposure to the sun, the symptoms of sunburn can vary.
After a few hours of sunburn, the following signs can be noticed:
- Brown, red, or pink skin
- Tenderness and warmness of the skin
- Inflammation of the affected area
Severe cases of sunburn can present the following symptoms:
- Blisters on the skin
- Fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
Home remedies for sunburn
The following are some methods of treating sunburn at home:
- Cold compress: Sunburns can be stinging. To lessen the burning pain associated with sunburn, you can use a cold compress. Using a cold compress for sunburn treatment is more like a first aid. This is because the cold compress only brings temporary relief to the pain. However, it is strongly advised that you do not apply the cold compress directly to the skin, as doing so can worsen the situation. Instead you should place a towel between your skin and the cold compress.
- Aloe vera: To begin the list, we have aloe vera. Aloe vera is used in the treatment of various skin conditions; so, it is no surprise that it makes this list. Aloe vera helps in treating sunburn because of its anti-inflammatory and soothing effects on the skin.
- Hydration: Drinking lots of water when you have a sunburn is a simple, but effective way of treating the condition. This works because the sunburned skin is dehydrated making healing to take longer than normal. Drinking water will help to promote blood flow to the affected area, thereby stimulating the healing process.
- Take a cool bath: A natural way of treating the inflammation and burning sensation of the skin is by dipping your body in a cool bath. You should, however, avoid pools, as they may contain chlorine, which can worsen skin irritation.
- Echinacea: Sunburned skin can become infected; in such a situation, you should apply an infusion of Echinacea due to the plant’s antibacterial and emollient properties.
- Lettuce: The analgesic properties of lettuce leaf can be beneficial in relieving sunburn symptoms. Get some lettuce leaves and boil in water. Strain the mixture and refrigerate for several hours before applying topically using cotton balls.
- Stay away from the sun: This sounds obvious, but many people fail to observe this. Your sunburn was because of staying under the sun for long periods. It is common sense to avoid the sun if you have sunburn in order to prevent the condition from worsening and to accelerate healing.
- Wear loose clothing: This is more of a precaution than a remedy. Wearing tight-fitted clothing is not advisable if you are treating sunburn. This is because the skin needs to get as much air as it can in order to properly heal. So in addition to the other home remedies listed here, ensure that you wear loose clothing to hasten the healing process.
- Chamomile tea: You can use chamomile tea for treating sunburn too. To get relief using chamomile tea, simply prepare the tea by adding some chamomile leaves to boiled water. Then, allow the tea to cool before dipping a clean cloth in it and subsequently applying to the sunburned skin. A word of caution though, you should avoid this remedy if you are allergic to pollen.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is used for treating various ailments, including sunburn. For the purpose of treating sunburn, dilute the vinegar in water and apply to the affected skin using cotton balls. If the sunburned area is large, you can consider soaking your body in a bath with a cup of vinegar added.
- Baking soda: Baking soda and water mixed to form a paste can be applied to sunburned skin for relief. This mixture helps by reducing any irritation and by making the skin to remain moist. Another way of using baking soda is by pouring a few tablespoons of the powder in a water-filled bath tub and soaking yourself in it.
- Coconut oil: Based on anecdotal reports, coconut may have sun-blocking capabilities that allow the entry of ultraviolet rays from the sun to the skin without causing damage. In addition, the moisturizing and emollient effect of coconut oil on the skin can also help in treating sunburns. Thus, topical application of coconut oil to the skin can be a natural remedy for sunburn.
- Oatmeal: Traditional (not instant) oats can be used for bringing relief to sunburned skin. Cook the oats as per given directions, then, allow to cool. When the oatmeal is cool, apply it to the sunburned skin without rubbing. You should also ensure that you add a little more water than usual when preparing the oatmeal.
- Lavender essential oil: Essential oils like lavender oil and peppermint oil can also be used as home treatment for sunburn. The burn-relieving power of lavender oil can be traced to as far back as the early 20th century when a chemist used it to treat a burn. For treating sunburn, dilute a teaspoon of lavender oil in 2 ounces of water in a spray bottle. Shake the mixture before spraying on the sunburned skin.
- Honey: Like apple cider vinegar, honey is another multifarious medicinal liquid. In the case of sunburn, honey helps by reducing inflammation and promoting healing. Honey also has pain-relieving properties that are beneficial in sunburn treatment. For the purpose of treating sunburn, apply the honey on the affected skin areas.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used mainly as a thickener for cooking. You can benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of cornstarch if you have sunburn. To achieve this, mix some cornstarch with water to form a paste. Then, apply the paste to the affected skin.
- Black tea: According to studies, black tea can benefit people with sunburns. This is due to the anti-inflammatory effect of black tea, which can help in bringing relief to the affected skin.
- Green tea: Like black tea, green tea also possesses anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to its polyphenols. To benefit from green tea, steep some green tea leaves in water and soak a clean cloth in the mixture. Put the soaked mixture in a refrigerator, and then apply to the affected skin.
- Witch hazel: Witch hazel extract can also be used for treating sunburns at home. The extract of the witch hazel plant is said to contain powerful compounds like tannins, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Besides the anti-inflammatory effect, witch hazel extract also has healing and skin-protective properties that should come in handy in the treatment of sunburn. Witch hazel extract is to be applied topically to the burnt skin.
- Milk: The presence of protein and fat in milk, as well as the acid contents, means that sunburn symptoms like swollen skin can be treated. Simply mix a cup of milk in 4 cups of cold water, and then using a washcloth, apply the mixture to the affected skin area.
- Eucalyptus oil: Like lavender oil, eucalyptus oil can also be used to bring relief to the symptoms of sunburn. Eucalyptus essential oil has antibacterial properties that should help in preventing infection when you have sunburn.
- Yogurt: Yogurt is rich in proteins and fats, like milk, which makes it another effective home remedy for sunburn. For this method, all you need to do is to apply yogurt to the sunburned area and leave for some few minutes. Afterward, wash off the yogurt using cold water.
While the above-mentioned remedies can help you in treating sunburn, the best way is to avoid getting sunburned. Limit your time spent under the sun. And if you must stay in the sun, ensure that you wear appropriate clothing and always carry a sunscreen with you.