Summer is up and the heat is on! A lot of people hit the beach or the swimming pool this summer to cool them down from the scorching heat of the sun. But if you expose yourself too much from the sun, chances are you can get sunburn.
Sunburn is caused by too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. As most sunburns are considered first-degree burns, the skin becomes red, warm, and tender to the touch. More serious sunburn can be a second-degree burn, causing severe reddening, swelling, pain, and even blisters. I read in a health book that fair-skinned people (like me!) are more prone to sunburn than darker skinned individuals. Yay! But no matter what your skin color is, you will still burn if you get too much exposure. And if you do get sunburned, here are some natural home remedies that you can do to help ease the pain and aid in the body’s healing process:
Gently apply a thin layer of aloe vera gel to the sunburned area. Reapply it every hour until the pain is gone. Aloe vera gel is an amazingly effective treatment for any kind of burn. It relieves discomfort, speeds healing, and also helps to moisturize the skin and relieve dryness. Pulp (or the transparent gel) taken directly from inside the fresh aloe vera plant is the best. If you use a commercial aloe product, make sure, though, to choose one that contains no mineral oil, paraffin wax, alcohol, or coloring.
I mentioned in my previous post that honey is a natural antiseptic and contains anti-microbial agents, and a great treatment for all types of burns (including sunburn), cuts and skin problems. What you can do is to make some sort of a paste by combining a cup of cool milk (preferably whole milk) and a half-cup of raw honey. Apply it on the sunburned areas of your body and leave it on as long as possible. The fat and lactic acid in milk are known to have soothing effects for sunburned skin, so it’s best to use whole milk in this kind of home remedy.
Another mixture that you can use is a cup of apple cider vinegar and a half-cup of raw honey. Mixing these two and using it as a lotion will give fast relief from a stressed, sunburned skin.
Brew a pot of herbal tea (no sugar added please) and allow it to cool completely. Splatter it on the affected areas with a soft sponge or washcloth, or spray it directly by putting it in a spray bottle. The tannin in tea is the active ingredient that helps soothe and relieve the discomfort of having sunburn.
Other helpful tips:
- Drink plenty of fluids. Sunburn dehydrates the body.
- Eat high-protein foods for tissue repair, as well as raw fruits and vegetables to supply the needed vitamins and minerals.
- Use cool water compresses for immediate relief of sunburn pain.
- Strictly avoid any further sun exposure until the burn is completely healed.
- When it comes to sunburn, prevention is better than cure. Avoid spending time outdoors between the hours of 10:00AM and 3:00PM. When you do spend time outdoors, wear a sun hat, protective clothing, and UV-protection sunglasses.
- Don’t neglect your lips. Our lips are susceptible to sunburn, too. Use a sun protection product designed for the lips and a sunscreen for your face and body. Choose a formula containing natural ingredients such as aloe vera and vitamin E.
- If a child is sunburned, take extra care. Do not apply any commercial creams or anything to the burned area other than cool water or a bit of the aloe vera gel or honey mixture sparingly. The burn will heal more naturally if left exposed to the air.
- If the burn is severe, see a physician.
Have a fun-filled and safe summer!
Phyllis A. Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing 4th Ed, Avery Publishing, 2006.