Enjoying what's left of summer in a swimming pool? Having your skin torched by the sun at the beach? Well then bud, say hello to sunburn. It's an itchy battle scar that shows you're doing summer right, but at the same time, it could be a very painful thing to deal with.
You have to treat your sunburned skin right away. “Sunburn may seem like just a temporary situation but it can also cause long-lasting damage to the skin, such as wrinkles or even skin cancer,” says Dr. Robert Friedman, a dermatologist at New York University's Langone Medical Center.
To help you out, here are five easy ways to treat your scorched skin:
1) Take an oatmeal-infused bath
What to do: Soak in an oatmeal (yes, that oatmeal) bath to help lessen the itchiness of that sunburned skin. Add one cup of cider vinegar to your bath to help balance the pH and promote the healing.
“Look for lotions that contain oatmeal, which is particularly soothing,” says Dr. Friedman. For the apple cider, make sure it is well diluted. In 2012, an eight-year-old boy who applied undiluted apple cider on an infected area suffered chemical burns.
2) Use aloe
What to do: Apply lotions, gel or cream that contain aloe vera to help soothe and moisturize the sunburned part.
Dr. Elizabeth Martin, a dermatologist, recommends keeping the aloe chilled in the refrigerator.
“[This] can be particularly soothing to sunburned skin,” Dr. Martin tells Menshealth.com in an interview. Also, avoid aloe products that contain "caine" in its name. “These can irritate the skin or even cause an allergic reaction,” she explains.
3) Apply cool milk
What to do: Smear a milk compress with a clean cloth to your skin for a minute or two. It can take the burning sensation down a nick. Repeat the milk compress every hour as needed.
Note: Dairy items can be a big help if you run out of aloe vera or soothing lotions, according to Dr. Mary Lupo, a New Orleans dermatologist. Opinion is divided whether lactic acid helps, but the cooling sensation can definitely help.
4) Use cucumbers
What to do: Chill your cucumbers, squash it using a blender to create a paste. Apply the cucumber paste to sunburned skin.
Note: Cucumbers are rich in natural botanical compounds that have both antioxidant and analgesic properties, writes dermatology blogger Dr. Cynthia Bailey. Dousing your skin with a solution that has antioxidant and analgesic properties will promote cellular repair and healing.
5) Drink lots of water
What to do: Drink more than the typical eight to 10 glasses of water.
Note: Dr. Whitney Bowe, a New York-based dermatologist tells mensjournal.com, “Bad sunburns cause a process called vasodilation, where your blood vessels dilate and you lose water from your skin very quickly so start sipping water immediately, and keep drinking it to be sure you stay hydrated.”
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