Natural Cures For A Sunburn: Have These Items On Hand For Summer Skin TLC

Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but most people inadvertently get a sunburn during the summer months, no matter how diligent they try to be. Memorial Day officially kicks off the “sunburn season” — the months where people are sunburned in higher numbers, but we all know that sunburn is possible all year round, no matter the temperature. It’s just more likely that people stay outside longer, and have more exposed skin, in the summer months.

Not only does every bad sunburn increase one’s chances of developing melanoma, a deadly type of skin cancer, the chance is higher for those with whiter, fairer skin, freckles, blue or green eyes, and red or blond hair. This is because their skin lacks melanin found in more quantity in those with darker skin. But make no mistake: darker skinned people can burn as well, and one frightening study showed that nearly a third of African Americans never wear sunscreen.

Of course, common sense says that staying out of the sun is the best preventative, but that’s not very fun. What is possible, however, is to avoid “primetime” UVA hours — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Use a sunscreen with a high SPF, apply liberally and often, particularly if you’re sweating, even if it is waterproof. It is best to apply sunscreen approximately an hour before going out in the sun. Also use hats, long sleeved cotton shirts, and clothing that contains sun-blocking rays when being out.

However, should all that fail (or you suddenly find yourself outside longer than you intended without sunscreen for some reason) there are some natural things you can try.

  • Aloe Vera, particularly a real aloe vera plant, can cause constriction of blood vessels which can take the sting from a sunburn. Simply break the leaf of the plant and squeeze the contents on to the area.
  • A mixture of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water applied with a cool cloth can do the same thing. Repply as needed.
  • Vitamin E, taken by mouth and/or rubbed on sunburned skin, can ease discomfort.
  • Staying hydrated keep skin more supple and smooth and less likely to become scaly and rough.
  • A cool bath with a few tablespoons of baking soda mixed in may help. Don’t soak longer that twenty minutes, however, as that may dry out your skin.
  • Crushing the contents of a cucumber and applying to skin can have anti-inflammatory properties.

Most of these items have a long shelf life, so go ahead and stock up before you need them. The last thing you want to do with hot, red, inflamed skin is get dressed and go to the store at 3 a.m. With a little pre-planning, you will have some tools at your fingertips.

[Photo Courtesy of Huffington Post]