Overexposure to ultraviolet rays in the sunlight can cause the outer layers of your skin to become inflamed, a condition which is called sunburn. These burns are mostly of the first-degree type, and can be linked to heat strokes too. The person who suffers a sunburn, experiences intense pain about four hours after exposure, and it lasts for 2-3 days. After about a week, the skin begins to peel off. Frequent sunburns make your skin age faster and increases your risk of contracting skin cancer. People with a fair skin are more prone to sunburn, though some medications also increase sensitivity to sunlight. Such medications include antibiotics, tranquillisers, diuretics, contraceptive pills and oral diabetes drugs.
- The first thing to do when you suffer a sunburn is to cool it down. Soak the affected body part in cold water for 15 minutes, or apply an ice pack or a cold compress. It will reduce swelling and soak up the heat.
- If the sunburn has affected large portions of your body, then add some oatmeal to a cool bath and soak yourself in it. You should finely grind a cup of porridge oats in a grinder and use it.
- Put a cup of bicarbonate of soda in a cool bath and stir the water thoroughly so that the soda dissolves completely. Soak yourself in it for 15 minutes, the soda will draw out the heat and soothe any inflammation.
- Peppermint too can be used to soothe a sunburn. You can prepare a peppermint tea, or alternatively, mix two drops of peppermint oil in a cup of lukewarm water. Chill the mixture and gently apply with a soft cloth to the affected areas.
- On affected spots which are too painful, gently rub sliced cucumber, tomato or potato. They all have coolant properties and will also reduce swelling.
- Vinegar too soothes a sunburn. It can ease the pain, itching and inflammation. Dip a paper napkin in white vinegar or cider vinegar and spread it on the affected area till the paper dries. You can repeat as often as you like.
- Split open a vitamin E capsule and apply it on the affected area.
- If you have an itching sunburn, pour two cups of vinegar to your bathwater and soak yourself in it.
- Make a mixture of egg-white, honey and witch hazel and apply to the affected area of the skin.
- Wipe the affected skin with ordinary cooled tea.
- Toothpaste is known to relieve the pain of a burn and can also prevent blisters from forming.
- Apply a coat of aloe vera to the burnt skin, or use some aloe vera gel available in medical shops, it will have a soothing effect.
- Always put on a sunscreen lotion which contains a sun protection factor of 15 or higher before going out into the sun to prevent sunburn.
- Stay away from the sunlight during noontime as much as you can. If you can’t avoid it, cover yourself up properly in trousers, full sleeves, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- It is believed that the lycopene in tomatoes helps protect the skin against the ultraviolet rays of the sun. You could consider eating tomatoes or its paste before going out in the sun.