Happy Independence Day!
Like many others, you may be spending today outdoors with family and friends.
And that’s great news, as enjoying more fun in the sun can do wonders for your health.
After all, sunshine is nature’s source of vitamin D—an essential vitamin that wards off a whole host of diseases.
Of course, this is also the time of year when many people get a nasty sunburn. And that can destroy the otherwise healing effects of sunshine. (Soaking in too many ultraviolet [UV] rays can damage your skin and wreak havoc in the body.)
So, today, let’s first talk about how you can protect yourself against sunburn. Then, I’ll disclose some tried-and-true natural sunburn remedies…
Protect your skin against sunburn
I’m of southern Italian descent so, thankfully, I have only burned a handful of times in my life. But I still always respect the sun’s power—and I urge you to do the same.
Here are three commonsense strategies to protecting your skin today and all summer-long:
- Acknowledge the sun’s “golden hours.” The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. So, be mindful—because that’s also when you’re most likely to burn.
- Never over-exposure your bare skin. As a general rule of thumb, enjoy around 20 minutes of maximum sun exposure on bare skin before applying a mineral-based sunscreen (look for one of two ingredients: zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) or light, protective clothing.
- Don’t forget vulnerable areas. This includes your head, face, and shoulders. So, wear hats, sunglasses, and loose-fitted shirts that cover your shoulders. There are plenty of stylish, protective gear on the market nowadays that offer their own sun protection factor (SPF), to boot!
Now, let’s move on to talk about what you can try IF you still get a sunburn…
Safe, soothing relief
There are few things more painful than a bad, blistery burn. But there ARE ways to find safe, soothing relief…
Aloe Vera. This plant is packed with powerful nutrients that speed up the healing process. Plus, its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties externally AND internally. (Remember, the barrier to the inner workings of your body get compromised by sunburn, too.)
I recommend using the leaves straight from the plant itself. If you don’t have an Aloe Vera plant, I recommend heading to a local garden center. After all, getting the gel straight from the source is most effective—and you’ll avoid the chemicals included in most bottled products.
Cool bath/shower. Taking a cool bath or shower can help cool and comfort your burnt skin. Go ahead and take them as frequently as needed. But never use harsh soaps while bathing, as they’ll worsen your sunburn. (Last week, I talked about how you can use oatmeal to clean and soothe your skin.)
Then, gently pat yourself dry, being mindful to leave just a little water on your skin before applying a moisturizer. This trick will help alleviate dry skin.
Also, if you notice you’re starting to burn and you’re by a pool or body of water—take a dip! This will help calm down skin inflammation. Then, start taking more deliberate protective measures, as mentioned above, to avoid a full-blown sunburn.
Cold compress. This is a great way to bring down the temperature of your skin, especially while you’re “on the go.” It will also help relieve pain and swelling.
Just wrap an ice pack, ice cubes, or a bag of frozen veggies with a soft towel and apply directly to your sunburn for about 10-15 minutes, as often as you need. (Never place ice directly on your skin.)
Drink water. Your body needs more water after a burn because it’s craving the moisture that was lost.
Now, I often recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces each day. So, continue aiming for that sensible target—but keep going if you’re suffering a sunburn. Need some extra help? Reach for watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, or cantaloupe—all of which are more than 90 percent water.
As with most things in life, practice makes perfect. Gradually get your skin used to enjoying more time in the sun this summer. And always keep that natural, reef-friendly mineral sunscreen on hand—then, reapply it hourly (and immediately every time you get out of the water).
“Best Sunburn Remedies: Top 5 At-Home Treatments Most Recommended By Experts.” StudyFinds, 05/30/2023. (studyfinds.org/best-sunburn-remedies/)