It’s definitely happened to the majority of us at some point: We become sloppy with the SPF and miss an area, we don’t have someone with us to reach that hard-to-reach spot on our backs, or we apply sunscreen to our arms but forget our shoulders when we remove our t-shirt to go swimming. Then, as nightfall approaches, our skin becomes increasingly irritated and red. A few days later, when we look in the mirror, we see that our skin is peeling or that we have blisters.
Even though the hue may gradually fade, sunburns cause permanent damage. According to Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, it is difficult to treat sunburn. “It is a toxic damage to the skin that necessitates healing time while the cells rebuild. It is also crucial to remember that even though the rash of a sunburn disappears, the damage can last a lifetime, potentially increasing the risk of developing skin cancer by twofold. Year-round sun protection is a vital component of skin health.”
According to Dr. Gohara, repeated exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun’s rays raises the risk of skin cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one severe sunburn during infancy or adolescence can nearly double a person’s risk of developing melanoma (AAD). Those who burn easily, those with blonde or red hair, those who use tanning beds or who have had extensive sun exposure, and those with a compromised immune system are at increased risk for developing skin cancer. But skin cancer can afflict people of all skin tones; in fact, the AAD reports that it is frequently identified later in persons with darker skin because it is more difficult to spot.
Sunburns also contribute to accelerated aging, per the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF). According to Dr. Gohara, sunburn can result in increased freckling and uneven skin tone over time, hyperpigmentation, and free radical damage, which wreaks havoc on the skin’s appearance. These bothersome chemical particles breakdown collagen, which accelerates premature aging.
The good news is that there are a variety of home treatments for accelerating the healing process and alleviating the pain of a sunburn. Continue reading to discover ways to reduce redness more quickly, as well as the top-rated sunscreens recommended by the Good Housekeeping Institute to protect your skin in the future.
How to quickly remove sunburn from your face and body overnight:
1.Take a chilly shower or bath.
The AAD recommends keeping the temperature low and applying moisturizer as soon as you emerge from the water. The cool water may alleviate the pain and minimize the inflammation produced by the sunburn, while the lotion will help lock in moisture and make your skin feel and appear less dry. The SCF recommends avoiding strong soap, which might irritate the skin further.
2. Apply aloe vera
There is a reason why this after-sun lotion is so popular. Whether from a container or the plant itself, pure aloe vera gel has cooling and soothing effects. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can also potentially aid in wound healing. In addition, the aloe plant has demonstrated anti-inflammatory benefits in test tube trials.
3. Use a cold pack or compress
Wrap ice in a cloth before applying it directly to the burn, or wet a washcloth with cold water or milk and apply it to the burn. Dermatologist Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, M.D., medical director of Mudgil Dermatology in Manhattan and Hicksville, New York, claims that the vitamins and antioxidants in milk can help your skin repair.
4. Drink lots of water
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a sunburn pulls fluid to the skin and away from the rest of the body. Rehydrate by drinking plenty of water or a low-sugar, electrolyte-containing beverage. (Do not attempt to hydrate by drinking margaritas, as alcohol can exacerbate the condition.)
4. Avoid popping any blisters
Severe and widespread blisters require medical attention, but a few should be left alone. According to the AAD, opening them up puts them susceptible to infection. If blisters burst on their own, the Mayo Clinic recommends cleaning the site with gentle soap and water and applying antibiotic ointment and a bandage.
6. Guard against future injury
If you must go outside again, wear skin-covering apparel and stay in the shade. Don’t forget to apply gobs of sunscreen as well – at least a shot glass-full for the body, a nickel-size dollop for the face, adds GH Beauty Lab Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D. Dr. Gohara continues, “It’s critical to use SPF on the burn to avoid stoking the fire with extra harm!”
7. Look into over-the-counter drugs
If you look in the correct places, the pharmacy aisles can also help with the healing process:
Take aspirin or ibuprofen: Advil, an over-the-counter pain treatment, can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
Apply hydrocortisone cream: According to the Mayo Clinic, a modest topical steroid such as Cortizone-10 may hasten healing.
8. Avoid goods that retain heat
Some products you may be tempted to apply on your skin can aggravate the situation by trapping heat in. That’s not good. For this reason, the SCF urges to avoid using oil-based lotions or petroleum products.
9. Avoid topical anesthetics as well
Products like benzocaine — in fact, any product ending in “-caine” — should be avoided right now since they can irritate the skin even more.
10. Vary your skincare routine.
It’s best to forego some of your typical skincare routine for the time being. Exfoliators and scrubs will just aggravate the pain and may cause extra damage to your skin, as can toners. If you’re using acne medication, you should chat to your doctor about whether it’s a smart idea to take a break.
11. Continue moisturizing
The SCF recommends applying moisturizer to the burnt region over the next three days to help keep the burned or peeling skin moist.
12. Think about taking an oatmeal bath
The Cleveland Clinic recommends adding colloidal oatmeal to your bath water to relieve the pain of a sunburn; it is known to reduce inflammation. Simply take a break, lie down, and say “aaahh.”
13. Alternatively, add baking soda to the bath
A baking soda bath may also assist, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It also has antimicrobial qualities and has been demonstrated in studies to relieve itching. Try soaking in a lukewarm bath with a half cup of baking soda.