Your Essential Guide to Treating Sunburns

We have all been guilty of receiving Mother Nature’s worst souvenir from our summer vacations: the dreaded, painful sunburn. Time and time again, we have learnt that sunscreen is vital to protect our skin from the harmful rays of the sun, and re-application every 2 hours is important to ensure lasting protection throughout the day. But, there are times when we slip up and have to pay the price in the form of stinging, peeling skin. To help you heal from the battle scars that you have received after a day out in the sun, here is a complete guide of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to treating those nasty sunburns.


Don’t Take A Hot Shower

While it is definitely tempting to take a hot shower in the cold morning, you should definitely avoid showering with hot water at all costs. Instead, take a cold shower to soothe the pain and relieve the sting without worsening the first-degree burn. If you are unable to adjust to taking cold showers, do consider bathing with lukewarm water instead to prevent further skin damage.


Use Gentle Cleansing Foams

As you allow your skin to heal, you might want to steer clear of your usual body cleansing foams, especially if it is formulated with chemicals and drying agents. At this critical stage of the healing process where your skin is still tender and sensitive, you would not want to dry it out. Instead, keep your skin nourished and retain its moisture levels with gentle cleansing foams that will not exacerbate your sunburn.


Avoid Petroleum And Other Skin-Irritating Ingredients

Run from skincare products that contain petroleum during this time, since it could trap the heat within your skin, which in turn hinders the healing process. Avoid further skin irritation by ditching topical pain relievers that are formulated with benzocaine or lidocaine, since it could worsen the stinging and cause allergic reactions. Soothe your red, blistered skin with natural alternatives, such as aloe vera and essential oils, to deliver nourishment to the affected areas.


Stay Hydrated

Staying out in the sun for extended periods of time can zap out all the moisture from your system, which could wreak havoc on the skin’s natural healing process. Don’t forget to stay hydrated as you take the time to heal from your sunburn. Doing so will help your skin to retain moisture and regain its suppleness with lesser downtime. Additionally, drinking plenty of water can also minimise peeling of the skin as it starts to heal.


Slather On Aloe Vera

Apply aloe vera generously on your face and body to cover the areas that you might have missed when applying sunscreen. This will help to accelerate the healing process and soothe any pain that you might be experiencing. However, do consider all-natural aloe vera gels, and ditch the ones that are formulated with alcohol or other skin-drying chemicals. Since alcohol can strip away the skin’s natural oils, it could potentially hinder your skin’s ability to heal itself.


Take It Easy On The Makeup

Ladies, do fight the urge to coat your skin with makeup in an attempt to conceal the redness of your sunburn. Since your skin requires time to breathe, piling makeup on the affected area could be detrimental to your skin’s healing process. Besides, if you don’t have the habit of washing your makeup tools on a regular basis, the bacteria from the brushes and sponges could aggravate the skin, which leads to further irritation and redness.


Avoid The Sun

As soon as you start to notice the symptoms of a sunburn, you should certainly stay out of the sun, especially during mid-day to avoid further sun damage. Until your sunburn heals completely, it is highly recommended to limit your time in the sun.


Try Not To Pick At Your Skin

During the healing process, you might find that your skin will start to peel and flake. While you might be tempted to pick at it, you should not do that. Don’t even scrub it off with a loofah or exfoliant as this could affect the skin’s healing process and contribute to further skin damage. Instead, allow the skin to flake off naturally, or moisturise the peeling areas to minimise itchiness and keep it hydrated.


Protect Your Skin

While it is virtually impossible to stay out of the sun until your skin heals, do remember to apply a generous coat of sunscreen on the sunburnt areas to protect it from further damage. Don’t forget to reapply once every 2 hours, as long as you are out in the sun. Opt for physical-blocking ingredients like zinc oxide, instead of chemical-based sunscreens to avoid irritating your burnt skin. Additionally, regularly applying sunscreen can help to ward off pigmentation issues and premature ageing in the long run.


Don’t Exfoliate Just Yet

Although it is good to exfoliate once a week, you might want to skip exfoliation day until your skin heals. Avoid using abrasive scrubs and consider gentle facial cleansers instead. Vigorously rubbing your skin can be extremely harmful to your skin, especially when it is vulnerable and burnt.