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No matter how careful you are about applying sunscreen and limiting your exposure to the sun during the hottest part of the day, you are likely to experience a sunburn at some point in your life. If you are going on a vacation to the beach, then you will want to brush up on the best ways to relieve sunburn so that you are prepared for the possibility of a sunburn. I did the research for you so that you can not only treat a sunburn that you are experiencing yourself, but also help your family if they are sunburned while outside.
Cool it Down
It’s important that you take a cool bath or shower to help decrease the amount of pain that you are feeling, but you want to make sure that you don’t cause more damage to your skin by accident. Skip any bubble bath or soap, as these can irritate your skin and dry it out even more. Opt instead for a cool bath to help decrease the pain that you feel and give you some relief.
Be Prepared to Moisturize
After your cool bath, you will want to moisturize right away to try to lock some of the moisture into your skin. It’s important to use the right products so that you don’t cause more damage to your already sensitive skin, so avoid anything that is oil or petroleum-based, as they tend to trap the heat in your skin. Instead, use a moisturizer that has soy or aloe vera in it, as these products will help soothe your skin.
Take Steps to Reduce Swelling
If your sunburn is really bad, then your skin may swell and be very uncomfortable. It’s a good idea to take ibuprofen or aspirin to help combat this inflammation and swelling. This will help your body heal and make it easier for you to live with the pain that you feel.
It’s important that you stay hydrated to help keep your skin from drying out from the sunburn. While most people automatically reach for their water bottle when they are told to hydrate, there are other options that taste great and will make it easier for you to get your children to hydrate.
If you can’t bear the thought of drinking more water or you are worried about whether or not your children are getting enough to drink to combat their sunburn, then instead, cut up some fruit. I have found that watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew are all packed with water and are great alternatives when you need to be hydrated, but don’t want to drink a glass of water.
Don’t Pop Your Blisters
I know that it can be very tempting to pop your blisters, especially if they are uncomfortable or unsightly, but this is never a good idea. While your blisters may not look nice, they are actually helping to heal your skin and protect your body from inflammation.
Blisters are a sign of a second-degree sunburn and will take a lot longer to heal than a first-degree sunburn would. It’s important that you allow your blisters to heal naturally so that you don’t introduce bacteria or other germs to your sensitive and compromised skin, which can result in an infection and take much longer to heal.
Provide Protection During Healing
As your body heals, you need to make sure that you protect your skin whenever you are outside. While it may not be comfortable, and you may not want to cover up at all, it’s important that you wear clothing over your sunburn to keep it from being further damaged.
Any clothing that you wear needs to be tightly-woven so that it will be able to prevent the sun from reaching your skin. You can check the clothing that you want to wear by holding it up to a bright light and looking to see if any light comes through the fabric. Only choose pieces of clothing that prevent the majority of the light from getting through so that your sunburn will have time to heal.
Consider Your Sleeping Habits as One of the Best Ways to Relieve Sunburn
It can be a nightmare to try to get to sleep when you have a bad sunburn, but your body needs to rest to be able to heal. If you have an air mattress that you can blow up, then it’s worth sleeping on this for a few nights. An air mattress will not hold the heat to your body as much as a typical mattress will, and it will allow you to stay cool and comfortable while you are sleeping.
Another great way to improve your sleeping while you are healing from a sunburn is to sprinkle talcum powder in your sheets. This will decrease chafing as well as friction and allow you to get comfortable enough to fall and stay asleep.
Get Professional Help
While nobody wants to think that their sunburn is so bad that they need to see the doctor, sometimes you do need professional medical help so that you can heal correctly. Unfortunately, there are some sunburns that are so severe that you are not going to be able to treat them effectively at home, and the only way to care for yourself is by seeking professional help.
If you are faint, have chills or a fever, or are experiencing nausea, then you may need to get help from a doctor. Additionally, if your sunburn seems to be spreading, then you may have an infection that will need to be treated. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should go to a doctor right away so that he or she can determine the best treatment for your needs.
Dealing with a sunburn can be painful and may take a while to heal, but I have found that these are great options to help decrease the pain and provide some relief. Try out any combination of these treatments if you develop a sunburn on your next vacation to the beach, and you will be sure to experience relief from the pain and itching.
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.