It’s hard to resist soaking up the first few rays of summer sunshine, but sometimes lounging in the sun can come with a price. If you forget to put on sunblock, or forgot to reapply, you can end up with a nasty sunburn. The outer layers of your skin become inflamed by overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, and the affected area gets hot and tender.
Fortunately, there are some tried and true home sunburn remedies that can soothe your stinging skin. Try these ten suggestions to cool off, but remember: repeated sunburns cause your skin to age more rapidly, and increase the risk of cancer, so slather on that sunscreen the next time you venture into the sun.
1) Sunburn-soothing tips: Soak it up
For immediate sunburn relief, soak the sunburned areas in cold water (but not ice water) or with cold compresses for 15 minutes. The cold reduces swelling and wicks away heat from your skin.
2) Take a dip
If you’re burned all over, take a soak in a cool bath with oatmeal. You can either buy a colloidal oatmeal product, such as Aveeno, or simply grind up a cup of oatmeal in a food processor and add it to your bath.
3) Give yourself a green tea compress
Brew up a pot of green tea and let it cool for sunburn relief. Soak a clean cloth in the tea, and use it as a compress for sunburned areas. The tea contains ingredients that help protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation damage and reduce inflammation.
4) Freshen up with mint
Use the cooling, aromatic qualities of peppermint to quell the scorch of a sunburn. Either make peppermint tea or mix two drops of peppermint oil with a cup of lukewarm water. Chill the concoction and gently bathe the sunburned area.
5) Bring veggies to the rescue
For extra-painful spots of sunburn, rub the area gently with sliced cucumber or potato. They contain compounds that cool the burn and help reduce swelling.
6) Try some vinegar
Vinegar contains acetic acid, one of the components of medications like aspirin. It can help with sunburn relief, skin itching and inflammation. Soak a few sheets of paper towels in white vinegar, and apply them to the sunburned areas. Leave them on until the towels are dry. Repeat as needed.
7) Take a vinegary bath
If the sunburn itches, take a cool bath, but add two cups of vinegar to the bathwater before you get in.
8) Coat yourself
Mix baking soda and vinegar to make a thick paste, and slather it over the sunburned areas. Apply the salve before bedtime, and leave it on overnight.
9) Make your bed sunburn-safe
Sprinkle your sheets with cornstarch to minimize painful chafing. (Use this technique only for bad sunburns, since you’ll have to wash the sheets afterward.)
10) Go for aloe
Apply a light coating of pure aloe vera to the sunburned skin, using either a fresh piece from the plant or in the gel form you can buy at the drugstore. If you buy the gel, make sure it’s 100% pure aloe vera.
Source: Adapted from 1801 Home Remedies, Reader’s Digest
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