How to Best Treat Your Sunburn

How to Best Treat Your Sunburn

You can’t make it go away, but you can reduce your pain before things get better.

The sun can seem like a warm, inviting friend beckoning you to the backyard party. They have a nice smile and wave at you with a drink in hand as they chat with that friendly woman in the yellow hat, eating gourmet cheese by the pool.

But that pristine scene can change. And quickly, after only a few hours. That woman can turn out to be related to your hateful ex and, well, rather rude, and the nice smile on your friend can slowly transform. It can turn into a grimace she only shows when you’ve turned your back and frankly, you’re left wondering what her intentions truly were for inviting you in the first place. The pain truly burns.

Related: 4 Things to Consider When Choosing Clothing for Sun Protection

Just like social awkwardness, sun damage is real. And it hurts. A sunburn that’s too hot to touch and appears within a few hours of too much exposure can take up to a week to fade, and increase your risk of skin cancer.

What can you do to reduce your discomfort?

The experts at the Mayo Clinic recommend taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. Cool your skin down. Take a cold shower, or place cloths soaked in cold water on the burnt areas of your skin.

Apply moisturizer liberally and often, and consider using an aloe vera gel. Avoid applying products that end in “caine” such benzocaine, as they can irritate the skin and cause a potentially deadly condition that decreases the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry, called methemoglobinemia.

And if you’re worried about your burn, see your doctor. Protect yourself next time. Just like that fun-loving crowd, the sun isn’t always as sweet as she seems.

Photo credits: FotoDuets/

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