Lobster Imposter: Sun Burn Rescue Remedies
It has happened to the best of us. We get distracted by some fun in the sun and our safe sun practices go out the window. BOOM! Now you match the shade of a lobster and are stuck with a sun burn; despite all the great advice you previously received from Whole & Holistic (see Sun Smart and The Sun Screen Dilemma).
Classifying Sun Burns
A sun burn is classified as a radiation burn; those that come from prolonged exposure to UV rays, like the ones you get from the sun. The body responds to the damaged skin by initiating an inflammatory reaction – this is why we get redness and swelling in the affected areas. Sun burns are typically first-degree burns, which mean they only effect the epidermis, or the outermost layer of the skin. If your skin starts to blister, then you move up a level of severity (second-degree burn) and will require a little more TLC.
What to do?
Drink Water -> If you’ve gotten a sun burn, your body is likely feeling dehydrated from soaking in the warm rays of the sun. This is especially true if you’ve been pairing outdoor fun with alcoholic beverages. Your body needs the extra water to keep your skin moist for healing.
Aloe -> The oh-so-popular aloe gel can be topically applied. Not only has it been shown to promote healing in mild to moderate skin burns but it also has the added bonus of cooling to help with symptom relief.
Beware: some gels tend to be drying to the skin and shouldn’t be used excessively on burns. Try finding a product that has a higher percent of true aloe vera, or use the plant itself.
Apple Cider Vinegar-> This works great on any inflammatory skin condition (even toning acne or eczema!) Take one cup of apple cider vinegar and add it to a cool bath. You can also add this to a spray bottle for extra convenience. Warning – you will smell like vinegar after applying this remedy. To avoid this you can rinse your body with water post-vinegar soak.
Calendula Cream -> The plant Calendula officinalis aids in wound healing by enhancing epithelial cell growth. It also contains triterpenoids making it anti-inflammatory to help reduce redness. Preparations of this can be found at any health food store.
Coconut Oil -> This acts as a gentle moisturizer adding back nutrients beneficial to skin health. Lather this stuff all over your body while you’re at it – its been found to have anti-aging properties too.
If your skin develops a blister, it is extremely important to keep it intact! It’s best to cover it with a dry dressing in order to reduce the chances of infection.
Now your equipped with the tools to treat a sun burn. Remember that once you’ve been burnt that area is now more sensitive to repeat damage. Prevention is key – no one likes being a lobster imposter.
1. Antoon, A. & Donovan, M. (2016). Nelson Textbook of Paediatrics (pp. 568-576). Elsevier, Inc.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar. (2016). Natural Medicines. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.ccnm.edu:2562/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=816
3. Burns. (2016). Natural Medicines. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.ccnm.edu:2562/databases/medical-conditions/b/burns.aspx
4. Calendula. (2016). Natural Medicines. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.ccnm.edu:2562/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=235