We all know the number one summer skincare tip is staying on top of sun safety with a trusty SPF sunscreen, but let’s be real, it’s not always as easy as it sounds. When we’re out and about during the summertime, sometimes swimming, partying, and hanging with our besties can take priority over sunscreen reapplication. The consequences, however, are dire. There is nothing worse than a bad sunburn, so when we slip up on occasion, it is vital that we know exactly what to do. Luckily, we’ve got you covered in the event that you find yourself sporting a painful red glow...
SUNBURN EMERGENCY PROTOCOL
- Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory
When your skin has had a bit of an accidental sizzle, your first priority is to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, ASAP! An aspirin or alternative will do. This will help to take the heat out of your skin and ease any pain or discomfort that the burn is causing you. It will also help to calm down any inflammation.
- Cool the skin
Next, it is important to cool down the skin. One way to do this is to apply a cold compress, but for extra points, soak it in whole milk as the fats and proteins in the milk are highly effective at soothing irritation. Alternatively, the classic aloe vera gel is a great way to cool and soothe a painful burn.
So, you’ve dealt with inflammation and cooled your skin, now it’s time to moisturize like it’s going out of fashion. Dermatologist and senior vice president of Skin Cancer Elizabeth K. Hale, M.D., says that supple skin recovers faster from trauma, like sunburn. Using a moisturiser containing antioxidants such as vitamins C and E can help to counteract some of the UV-induced damage your skin has experienced. A cream containing ceramides is also a great way to rehydrate the skin, as well as repair and protect the skin barrier.
A sunburn draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body, meaning that you will likely be dehydrated after your encounter with the sun. It is important to replenish this fluid by hydrating. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water, or even an electrolyte drink to help rehydrate immediately.
- Further measures
If you’re faced with a nasty burn, there are further steps you can take to t your summer faux pas. I like to use hydrocortisone cream if I’m finding my burn to be particularly irritated, as this helps to treat the pain and itchiness. A little pro-tip is to store the cream in the fridge so it’s extra cool and soothing. Another measure that can help you tackle sunburn is to have a red-light LED treatment, at home or in the clinic. This can reduce the rapid inflammation that occurs and can also help to reduce the threat of long-term sun damage.
So, if you find yourself in a pinch this summer, make sure you’re on top of treating your sunburn. Sunburns can cause long-term damage in the form of photo-ageing and even skin cancer, so it is imperative that we care for our skin as soon as we start to feel the heat.