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How to Soothe a Sunburn

Expert Tips for Treatment

Whether you stayed a little too long beside the pool or forgot to apply sunscreen to your feet at the beach, you’ve likely experienced a sunburn at some point in your life. Unsightly and uncomfortable, sunburns cause more damage than you might think – not only do they accelerate skin aging, but they’re also a leading cause of skin cancer. The good news? Sunburns are totally preventable by taking the proper precautions, including wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen and covering up when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

1. Hop in the shower.

Taking a cool shower (or bath) can help relieve pain. When you’re done, gently pat your skin dry, but leave a small amount of water on the skin before applying moisturizer – this will help ease any dryness.

2. Look for a moisturizer with aloe vera or soy.

Apply liberally to soothe sunburned skin. Areas that are especially uncomfortable can be treated with over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.

3. Take medication if needed.

Aspirin and ibuprofen are both recommended for helping to reduce redness, swelling, and discomfort.

illustration of men and women sunbathing

4. Hydrate.

Sunburns draw fluids to your skin’s surface and away from the rest of your body. Drinking extra water while your skin heals will help prevent dehydration.

5. Allow any blisters to heal on their own.

You may be tempted to pop your blisters, but resist the urge. Those blisters are helping you heal while also fending off infection. Seek medical attention if you experience fever or chills, dizziness, or severe blistering from your sunburn

6. Protect sunburned skin from additional exposure.

Clothing acts as your first line of protection when outdoors – choose tightly woven fabrics for the best results.

Take this opportunity to “learn from the burn.” While the sunburn itself is temporary, skin damage occurs at your very first burn, with each repeated burn increasing your risk of skin cancer. When it comes to sunburns, prevention really is the best defense. HS

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