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Healing Your Sunburn - Treatments that Work

If you’re gearing up for a tropical vacation this winter, you need to be prepared for the possibility of sunburn. Lots of people visit tropical islands near the Equator for some relaxation, and they’re caught off-guard by the relative strength of the sun. If you’re not wearing enough sunscreen or properly protecting your skin, you may suffer from an awful burn. Sunburns should always be taken seriously. If you don’t treat them, they can lead to permanent skin damage and long-lasting pain. Here are several ways to effectively treat your sunburn.

Apply Cool Cloths
In many ways, you should treat a sunburn just as you’d treat your skin if you touched a hot stove. Soak a washcloth or towel in cool water, and place it over the sunburned areas of your body. Cool cloths will reduce the burning sensation, dull the pain, and relieve the itching associated with burns. Cool cloths are portable, and they can easily conform to any part of your body, even places that are hard to cover with bandages. Another great thing about cool cloths is that you can use them for as long as you need to - just rinse and reapply as necessary.

Use Ointments
Topical burn ointments are great to have on-hand. If you’re going on vacation, bring a soothing lotion with you, such as pure Aloe Vera gel. Topical steroids, like hydrocortisone cream, can also be good to use on sunburns. If necessary, a doctor can prescribe a topical steroid at a greater strength than you can find over-the-counter. Ointments help keep your skin moist, which is essential for treating burns. Don’t use products that contain alcohol, which is drying, or benzocaine, which can be lethal in high enough doses.

Practice Restraint
The biggest mistake you can make when dealing with sunburn is touching it too much. Unless you’re applying lotion or washing your skin (with mild soap), don’t touch your sunburn. Peeling your skin, popping your blisters, or otherwise messing with your burn will only hurt your skin, and it will take much longer to heal. Cover your blisters lightly with bandages or gauze if you can’t resist touching it, or if your clothing is rubbing against it. Otherwise, let your skin breathe.

Take Pain Relievers
Skin inflammation from sunburn can be very painful. Over-the-counter medication that’s anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen, can help reduce the pain of your sunburn. You can also try acetaminophen. Pain relievers won’t help heal your skin, but they will help you tolerate your sunburn while it lasts. Be sure to take the recommended doses.

Take Soothing Baths

A cool bath or shower will have the same soothing effect as a cool cloth. Warm or hot water will only hurt your skin and agitate your burn, and according to, you need to give your skin “a little tender love and care.” Soaking in the bath or shower will help you cope with the pain. With the right ingredients, you can also help heal your sunburn. Epsom salts, honey, milk, witch hazel, oatmeal, lemon, and vinegar, are some things that can be added to your bathwater in small amounts to help your burn. If none of these home remedies seem to decrease your pain or heal your sunburn, you might need to seek medical treatment


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