Last time, I talked about how to prevent sunburns. Now let’s say that you elected to ignore all the basics and now you look like one of my wonderful mother-in-law’s little cherry tomatoes. Well, crap. It itches, it stings, and you’re shedding dead skin everywhere. Now what?
First, cool down. A short, cool bath or shower will help relieve some of the pain and dryness. Try not to rub yourself dry with the towel though. Use gentle patting instead. A cold compress is a good alternative or can be used afterwards. Ice wrapped in towels, cold water bottles, anything works, just don’t put ice directly on the skin. I can’t imagine sunburns AND ice burns would be fun to have at the same time.
Next, moisturize like crazy. Moisturizers that have aloe vera are supposed to be the best for burns. Avoid lotions that have oils and petroleum in them. Those will trap the heat in your skin and probably make it worse. Hydrocortisone cream will also help reduce the pain for more serious sunburns.
Reduce pain and swelling. Anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, etc) will help reduce pain and itching. DO NOT give aspirin to anyone under 18. Hidden/oncoming sicknesses may react to aspirin and have serious consequences.
Drink a lot of water. In this hot country, I feel like that should be a given, but drink more water!
Don’t pick at it. Yes, it itches, but don’t pick and blisters or peeled skin. Not only is it gross, but it can lead to infections. So leave it alone until it heals.
Tell someone. I don’t mean announce to the world you have a sunburn, but if you feel dizzy, unusually cold, like you might throw up, or just unwell, tell your parents or go see a doctor. Better safe than sorry.
Lastly, don’t get burned in the first place! Protect yourself from the evil sun and enjoy summer pain free!