Gaining a golden-brown glow by putting in no more effort than simply spending time in the warm, summer sun sounds like a dream. Who wouldn’t want to bathe in the rays of the sun while relaxing outside? Even with the knowledge of just how harsh the sun can be on humans’ skin, people still choose to tan in the sun on a fairly regular basis. Although this activity is enjoyed by many, it has some drawbacks that can turn this sunny, summer dream into a nightmare.

This story begins with you lying down poolside for some fun with your friends. Everyone is in and out of the water without giving much thought to whether or not you applied your sunscreen. You have indeed skipped that step and opted to tan without any protection from the sun.

Now it’s time to pack up and you’re on your way inside the house when it happens – your skin begins to burn. You reach for the affected area and immediately regret that move. You’ve got sunburn and your skin has become sensitive to touch. You neglected to cover all the exposed areas of your body and equipped with this information, the sun chose to play a cruel joke on you. Your skin is inflamed and you’re in pain, but aren’t sure what to do. Try not to panic: there are some ways to bring you relief.

1. Start by taking aspirin or ibuprofen

If taken within 24 hours of the sunburn, these medicines will help relieve the inflammation that you’ll suffer as a result of the burn.

2. Apply lots of lotion to your skin

The sun did a number on you, including removing moisture from your skin. Restore this moisture to your skin by slathering on lotion that contains calming ingredients such as aloe vera. It will not only moisturize your skin, but soothe it as well.

3. Cold water helps

Soak a washcloth in cold water and use it on your skin to soothe the burn.

4. Drink plenty of water

Following sunburn, many people are dehydrated. Be sure to replace the fluids in your body by drinking lots of water.

5. Apply sunscreen

Preventing sunburn is as simple as coating your body with sunscreen that has a high SPF count and avoiding exposure to the sun when its rays are at their strongest, between 10am and 4pm Sunscreen can help even after you’ve been affected by sunburn, though. You should use sunscreen to continually repair your skin.

6. Take a calming bath

Treat yourself to a soothing bath that contains baking soda or oatmeal. This will comfort you as you work to repair the damage that the sun has left behind.

7. Cornstarch is a good option

Although your skin is tender, you cannot avoid coming into contact with some surfaces such as clothing and underwear. Try using cornstarch on those areas in order to make it easier to feel fabrics against your skin.

8. Look for Lidocaine

Lidocaine is an active ingredient found in many topical pain relievers. When searching for a skin cream or spray to temporarily relieve you of pain, make sure it is one that contains Lidocaine.

It’s understandable that you want an enviable skin tone, one that you can obtain free of cost. After spending all that time in the sun, however, you’ll ultimately be paying a bigger price than you ever would have by purchasing a bottle of self-tanner. Exposing yourself to the sun’s inviting yet harmful rays for prolonged periods of time without proper protection places you in painful predicaments such as dealing with wicked sunburn, and can eventually lead to skin cancer.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying time outdoors as long as you are sure to practice safe habits while in the sun. This includes protecting your skin from the sun’s negative effects. You may have suffered sunburn this time, but you’ll survive it and can go on to use this story as a lesson about preserving the health of your skin.

I didn't know fish oil could protect us from sunburn until I read this: 11 Benefits of Fish Oil That You Might Not Know About

Featured photo credit: A sunburnt surfer looks out to the ocean. via Shutterstock

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