It’s officially summer. And while long beach vacations, afternoons lounging by the swimming pool and lazy walks in provincial markets may not be on the radar this year, the potential for sunburns still remains high.
How would you get a sunburn without actually spending hours outdoors?
Firstly, while window glass filters out UVB rays, it still lets UVA rays come through. And it’s UVA rays that penetrate deep into the skin, manifesting as hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles.
And more importantly, it takes just 15 minutes of exposure to UV rays to damage the skin. Yes… just 15 minutes.
So, keep up with the broad spectrum sunscreen. It’s critical.
And if you still get a little too much sun? The doctors themselves recommend a host of home remedies that are easily available in every kitchen. From rubbing potatoes on your skin to dipping in an oatmeal bath, here are the most effective ways to ease the pain of your sunburn.
PS: It’s not just about the sunburn. These remedies are also good for all post-sun time. Any prolonged exposure to the sun can irritate our skin and leave it vulnerable to premature ageing.
So, slather on these pantry staples as a post-sun soother for damage control even when you are not actually burnt to a crisp!
Burn-fighting effect: The plain old potato is great at relieving pain and inflammation, making it a perfect quick-fix for sunburnt skin. The juices from a raw potato help strengthen the upper layer of the skin, even out its colour and provide moisture to dry areas. Plus, potato’s starchy compounds help take the sting out of a sunburn. Who knew?
Sunburn treatment: Cut two washed potatoes into small chunks and puree them in a blender or food processor; add a bit of water if they look dry. Pat this puree on the sunburnt areas, wait till it dries and then take a cool shower.
Or, you can simply cut the potato into thin round slices and place them on the sunburn for a few minutes – it might look a bit weird but it’ll definitely help with the pain.
Sunburn treatment #2: Treat with turmeric
Burn-fighting effect: Turmeric’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties make it a great remedy for the treatment of sunburn blisters.
Sunburn treatment: Take two tablespoons of turmeric powder and add enough water to make a paste. Apply this paste over the blistered area for 10 minutes, then wash off gently with cold water. Follow this remedy once daily until the sunburn blisters are cured.
Sunburn treatment #3: Tone up with tomatoes
Burn-fighting effect: According to scientists, tomatoes help protect the skin from sunburn and skin ageing caused by sunlight exposure thanks to the ingredient lycopene – the natural pigment that gives this fruit its red color.
Sunburn treatment: Puree a frozen tomato and apply it directly to the burnt area. Eating tomatoes can also help prevent future sun damage.
Sunburn treatment #4: OD on olive oil
Burn-fighting effect: Olive oil is a natural moisturiser and is known for having a healing effect on sun-damaged skin.
Sunburn treatment: Dip a cotton ball in a small cup with olive oil and apply to all the sore areas.
Sunburn treatment #5: Lay on the lettuce
Burn-fighting effect: Lettuce’s natural pain-killing properties help wipe away the sting of a sunburn.
Sunburn treatment: Boil lettuce leaves in water. Strain, then let the liquid cool for several hours in the refrigerator. Once chilled, dip cotton balls in the lettuce water and gently wipe over irritated skin.
Burn-fighting effect: Oats hold moisture and have a high silica content, making them an ideal skin soother. An oatmeal bath soothes dry, itchy or irritated skin.
Sunburn treatment: Fill up the bathtub with cool – not cold – water. Don’t use bath salts, oils, or bubble bath. Instead, scoop 1/2 to 1 cup oatmeal – an ideal skin soother – and mix it in. Soak in this bath tub for about half an hour or more, then let your body air dry.
Sunburn treatment #7: Yay for yogurt!
Burn-fighting effect: Plain yogurt contains an abundance of probiotics and enzymes that help heal painful sunburns.
Sunburn treatment: Wash your hands and apply cool yogurt directly to your burn. Let it sit on your skin until it warms up and then rinse it off with cool or tepid water. Apply as often as needed.
Sunburn treatment #8: Wash it with witch hazel
Burn-fighting effect: Witch hazel contains tannins that, when applied to directly to the skin, help reduce swelling, repair damaged skin and ward off nasty bacteria.
Sunburn treatment: Pour witch hazel into a bowl and soak cotton balls or a clean cloth in the liquid. Dab on just enough to cover the burn – it doesn’t need to be dripping off. Reapply as needed for soothing the pain.
Sunburn treatment #9: Cool it, cucumber!
Burn-fighting effect: Instant relief… that’s what a plain and simple cucumber means to scorched skin. Not only is a cucumber soothing to the burn simply because its cool, but its antioxidant and analgesic properties also promote healing and provide further (and long lasting) relief from discomfort.
Sunburn treatment: If you’re going for mainly quick pain relief, slice up a chilled cucumber and lay the slices on your burned skin. Flip the slices when the first side heats up, like how you flip a pillow to get the cool side up after a long nap. For a longer lasting effect, chill 1 or 2 cucumbers and toss them in a blender to create a paste.
Burn-fighting effect: Baking soda is alkaline in nature and thus it can be very soothing to the skin. At the same time baking soda has antiseptic properties that can help in getting relief from the itchiness that often accompanies sunburn blisters.
Sunburn treatment: Fill your bath tub with cold water, add 1-2 cups of baking soda and mix properly. Soak your body in this bath for about half an hour. For instant relief from the burning, you can mix some baking soda in water and apply this paste over the affected areas.
Sunburn treatment #11: Make for the milk
Burn-fighting effect: Milk creates a protein film on your skin that will help ease the discomfort of fresh sunburn.
Sunburn treatment: Fill a bowl with cool (not cold) milk. Soak a washcloth or gauze in the milk. When the gauze or washcloth is saturated, let the excess liquid drain off. Drape across your burn, pressing gently so that it stays in place, and leave it on for as long as needed. If the milk in the bowl becomes room temperature chill it before re-dunking your compress.