sunburn RGB
Graphic by Maddy VanOrman

Imagine you’ve spent the day out by the pool. You just bought a new swimsuit, and you’ve been dying to wear it. In all your excitement you’ve forgotten one very vital thing: sunscreen.

As you head home to clean up, you begin to feel the warmth emanating from your skin. You undress, rinse off and realize you’ve made a terrible mistake as you slide on an itchy, thick cotton shirt that feels like razors against your skin.

Your heart sinks as you realize that the damage is already done. You kick yourself for not packing that bottle of sunscreen you bought previously with such good intentions.

You kick yourself even more when you don’t have any aloe vera on hand to ease the pain. So what are you to do? You can make a quick trip to the store, which would require you to throw on that cotton shirt that you’ve already flung off, or you can look around your home for some easy, although temporary, solutions.

Cool shower – I would like to emphasize that this is a cool shower and not a cold shower. It has been shown that intense cold on a sunburn isn’t actually good for your skin.

It can actually be shocking to the body, and if your sunburn is severe enough, you can even be left in shock. So turn the knob slightly to the cool side and allow the water to do it’s job.

Milk – You can take a small glass of milk and dip a soft, gentle washcloth into it, allowing the milk to dampen the cloth. Rub gently over any areas that are sunburned.

It is best to use whole milk because of the higher fat content. The fat will help hold in moisture.

Once again, don’t use cold milk.  Use cool milk. Allow the glass of milk to sit on the counter for a half hour so that it isn’t as shocking to the skin.

Oatmeal bath – Sounds like a cure for chickenpox, right? Well you’re in luck because it also soothes burns as well. Add a few cups of flavorless oatmeal to a tub of water, warm or cool, and then soak the affected areas.

It might be a pain to clean up, but the oatmeal will provide the relief you’re after.

Cucumbers – Food seems to be a popular theme when sunburn relief is concerned. You can take cucumbers, slice them up and then grind them into a paste.

Place the paste in the fridge, and allow it to cool. Don’t let the paste get too cold because the same rule applies as the water.

Once the paste has been cooled down, apply it to the sunburned areas, and let it sit. It should help draw out the heat. When you’re finished, rinse the paste off with cool water.

There are a few things to avoid when you’re sunburned as well. As mentioned earlier, it is best to avoid extremely hot or cold water. It is also best to avoid lotions that are scented as these can irritate the skin and trap the heat inside.

And remember the best way to take care of a sunburn is to prevent it in the first place. Limit your exposure to extreme sun, wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen every 30 minutes when in direct sunlight.




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