It’s inevitable; sunburn in the summer. Even the last couple of weekends being outside without some form of protection from the sun is going to make your skin red and you uncomfortable. More than one third of Americans will end up with a painful sunburn at some point over the summer and a New York City dermatologist says there are some surprising items from your fridge that can treat your sunburn quickly.
The pain you feel from a sunburn is not due to the deeper damage, however, but to the surface scorching and that pain needs to be treated with cold. A cold compress both pulls heat away from the site of the burn and helps to ease painful inflammation by shrinking swollen cells. The doc says, “A milk compress can help calm inflamed skin as well, as proteins in the milk coat and soothe the skin.” Stay away from whole or cream milk, though. The fat in those could trap heat. Some dermatologists suggest that enzymes in yogurt may be helpful as well.
Ice water can work for a cold compress too, but is not as gentle or nourishing to the skin as milk. Be sure, however, to never apply ice directly to the skin. A cold shower or bath can help cool you down, but ice can stick to your skin and cause further damage.
Once you’ve cooled the burn, seal the deal with a light moisturizer. The doc says, “I advise applying a petroleum based moisturizer to form a protective seal over the skin’s surface.”
Aloe and motrin can give some fast pain relief, but don’t touch the lidocaine. Painkillers like benzocaine and lidocaine temporarily numb aching areas, but they do nothing to repair the skin and, since they are topically applied they may hide existing pain that should be treated, or even do additional damage.
Then of course there is ole faithful, aloe vera, which has a natural cooling effect on sunburn, breathes well and does not trap heat in in.
Enjoy that sunshine this spring and summer, safely of course!