On a hot summer day, sunshine can be your best friend and worst enemy at the same time. Getting your dose of vitamin D is crucial for your health, but too much sun can be harmful to your skin.
Sunburns may be caused by either too much sun exposure or too much ultraviolet (UV) exposure from a tanning bed. If you have light skin, eyes, or hair, or freckles, your risk for sunburn is a bit higher than the rest of us.
Spend too much time out in the sun, and your body will trigger your skin to increase its melanin production for protection, which could give you a darker and/or irregular color. (Melanin gives color not only to your skin, but your eyes as well).
The protective effects of melanin are crushed when you have an excess amount of sun exposure; living cells being to die off and your body will trigger blood flow, causing inflammation to the area. Your skin is hired for the full-time job of protecting against germs. It is the largest organ and acts as a barrier or gateway both physically and chemically.
Your skin is also largely responsible for regulation of your immune system, which is suppressed with high doses of UV radiation, meaning too much sun can even make you sick. When you’ve spent too much time in the sun, you might experience pain, blisters, itching or peeling. Here are some ways you can soothe minor sunburns at home.
Coconut oil is a versatile home remedy. Put some on your skin the next time you turn a little red from getting too much sunshine. Fatty acids found in coconut oil assist in reducing inflammation of the skin and also combat dryness by moisturizing your skin. Coconut oil can also function as a sunscreen blocking about 20% of the sun’s UV rays.
Cucumbers are actually made up of about 95% water, so they literally have a cooling and hydrating effect on your body. When you think of a spa, do cucumbers over the eyes come to mind? As it turns out, there is some science behind this.
Cucumbers can decrease your inflammation and swelling when used topically or directly on the skin by blocking pro-inflammatory enzymes. These are the same enzymes that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin block to alleviate pain.
Take A Cool Shower
Beating the heat can be tough if you feel like your skin’s temperature is rising just after getting out of the sun. Try taking a shower to cool your body temperature down. Avoid using freezing cold water, as extreme temperatures are what you are trying to stay away from.
Also, make sure that you aren’t stepping into a shower with very high water pressure, as this could be painful to your skin. A gentle lukewarm flow of water is best for relaxation. Be cautious when using products like bath oils or soaps, these may irritate your skin and make you feel worse. Gently pat yourself dry when you get out, any vigorous rubbing will further irritate your sunburned skin.
(Related: 6 Unexpected Benefits of Cold Showers)
Grab a hold of these succulent leaves to relieve some of your pain and redness from sunburn. Inside aloe vera leaves, you will find the clear gel that relieves sunburn, moisturizes and softens the skin, and supports wound healing.
Be aware that aloe vera gel sold in stores may contain additional chemicals, so aloe vera gel straight from the plant works best. Growing aloe vera is actually perfect for those without a green thumb, as it thrives on neglect. We don’t know exactly why aloe vera works to alleviate sunburn, but what we do know is that it’s made of more than 75 chemical compounds.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has many home remedy uses, and you can add sunburn treatment to the list. Be sure you dilute the solution to avoid any unpleasant effects; vinegar is an acid and on its own could potentially be harmful to you. There is no standard ratio of water to vinegar volume, but a 1:1 ratio is a good starting point.
Several methods would work to apply the solution to your skin, including: bathing in cool water and diluted ACV, gently patting affected areas with a wrung-out washcloth that has been dipped in your ACV solution, or using a spray bottle to apply the ACV solution to your skin.
Don’t let your body experience a drought. The body is made up of mostly water. Your insides tend to dry out when you experience excessive UV exposure; you can counterbalance this by hydrating. This is crucial for helping prevent dehydration because a sunburn will force water to your skin’s surface and away from your body.
(Related: 7 Reasons You Need To Drink More Water)
Tea time doesn’t just have to be for drinking tea. You can also put your tea bags to use on your sunburns. Tannic acid and theobromine found in green and black teas are the fire-extinguishing elements, as they have the ability to turn the heat down for your burns.
Another helpful chemical embodied within these teas is catechins, which help prevent and repair skin damage. Green and black teas are both full of antioxidants that will defend against free radicals created by excess sun exposure, as well.
Witch hazel is a vibrant yellow plant that was used by Native Americans to reduce inflammation and swelling. By distilling the good witch’s fresh-dried leaves, stems, bark or twigs with water, you can also extract tannic acid, similar to that in tea. The product is also known as hamamelis water and can be applied directly to your skin for relief.
(You’ll Also Love: 8 Herbs That Detox Your Body Naturally)