UK Heatwave – Cure your sunburn with 10 simple tips

It’s set to be hot across the UK with some parts forecast to be as hot as Malibu this week.

As the weather warms up, most people opt for shorts and tank tops—with skin that’s normally hidden and exposed to the elements.

In sunny weather, it's important that you use protective lotions to prevent your skin from getting burned


In sunny weather, it’s important that you use protective lotions to prevent your skin from getting burnedPhoto credit: Getty – Contributor

Topping up your tan can be a great way to end the day – but it’s important to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from permanent damage.

If you forget to apply lotion, you can get nasty burns that can be hot and painful.

Not only that, but exposure to the sun can also put you at risk for skin cancer.

Whether you didn’t apply enough or you forgot, here are 10 tips to soothe burned skin.

1. After sun lotion

There are many after-sun lotions that you can purchase at your local drug store or grocery store to soothe the burning sensation and also help repair the damaged skin.

Choose one with aloe vera, as the plant extract is known to soothe burns.

Although these lotions or gels can help repair skin after sun damage, they cannot repair the damage done to your cells.

It’s damage to your cells that puts you at risk for skin cancer, so make sure you always use sunscreen.

2. Cool it down

Some may tell you that a cold shower can provide instant relief and reduce inflammation, but a cold shower could actually further damage your skin by drying it out, explained Dr. Ross Perry.

He said: “Instead, lightly dampen your skin with a soft washcloth, which will cool the burn without exposing it to too much water.

“Use a dabbing motion and be careful not to rub your skin as this further disrupts your skin barrier.”

3. Yoghurt

You could use yogurt to soothe sunburn, but not by eating it.

Apparently, slapping some yogurt on your burned skin can provide some much-needed relief.

It’s not entirely clear why this is, but it’s probably due to the fact that it has a higher pH so it can be used to relieve heat.

4. Tea

Again, you don’t have to drink it, just use a cold tea bag or freshly brewed tea – which has naturally cooled – on your skin.

The tannin in black tea is believed to help draw heat from the burn and restore pH to aid in healing.

5. Drink up

Staying hydrated inside and out is critical to sunburn recovery, said Dr. perry

“Burns draw fluid to the surface of the skin and away from the rest of the body, which can leave you feeling dehydrated.

“It’s important to drink lots and lots of water and use a good hydrating SPF to avoid further dehydration.”

6. Milk

A cold milk compress also relieves sunburn.

Milk contains vitamins A and D, amino acids, lactic acid, fats, whey and casein proteins.

It is these ingredients that help the skin to recover.

Vitamins help skin heal, while lactic acid stimulates skin to shed dead cells so your immune system doesn’t have to work as hard to repair them.

There will also be less inflammation when your immune system isn’t working as hard.

All you have to do is pour some milk into a bowl, put a flannel inside and let it cool in the fridge.

Once the milk has soaked into the cloth and both are cold, take it out and press the flannel into your sunburned skin.

Top tips for safe sunscreen

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Pharmacist Scott McDougall, founder of Independent Pharmacy, said you should always check the lotion for an expiration date first.

He said another mistake people make is choosing an SPF that is too low. He said your body still absorbs vitamin D from sunscreen, so choose factor 50 if possible.

Not applying enough cream is another problem, he said. He recommended liberal use throughout the day, generally every two hours and after swimming.

Another problem, he said, is that people are late when it comes to applying creams. You should apply lotion before you leave the house, not when your skin is burning, Scott said.

7. Creams

Gentle moisturizers are key to sunburn recovery, said Dr. perry

“While your skin is still damp (this prevents the minerals from settling on the skin), apply liberal amounts of a ceramide-enriched moisturizer to lock in moisture.

“Be careful to avoid petroleum or oil-based ointments, which can trap heat and worsen the burn.”

8. Painkillers

according to dr Perry, using painkillers can actually make a sunburn go away faster.

He said, “As long as you’re taking some of this in the first few hours after sunburn, taking some ibuprofen might help reduce swelling and relieve discomfort.”

9. Cucumber

You’ve seen it used to keep eyes cool during facials, so why not use it on your sunburn.

Cucumbers are believed to have natural antioxidant properties to help cool burns.

You can either slice it up and apply it directly to your skin or mash it up and use it like a cream.

While there’s no scientific evidence that it works, a cucumber certainly feels nice and cool.

10. And what to avoid

While baby oil is great for a number of conditions, it should not be used to treat sunburn.
This is because oily or greasy products can prevent heat from escaping and worsen a burn by not allowing the area to cool. UK Heatwave – Cure your sunburn with 10 simple tips

Sarah Y. Kim

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