Sunlight is our main source of vitamin D. Hence, 5-15 minutes of sun exposure, preferably before 10 a.m., thrice a week can help us absorb sufficient vitamin D. The outer layer of the skin contains melanin, a pigment that protects us from the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Overproduction of melanin as a result of UV exposure can cause the skin to darken, which is referred to as tanning.
But have you ever been out in the sun for too long and experienced redness in the skin or some sort of rashes? That’s your skin being inflamed (erythema) due to sunburn. Any individual with an exposed body part, such as the earlobe, skin, or scalp can undergo this phenomenon. But even covered body parts can experience a burning sensation depending upon the clothing type worn which can allow the UV rays of the sun to penetrate through. The UV rays of the sun are powerful enough to penetrate to the deep layers of the skin and can damage skin cells, causing skin cancer.
But tanning removal at home and easily accessible remedies to treat sunburn can make all the difference.
Home remedies for sunburn
One may experience different degrees of sunburn.
The symptoms of a first-degree sunburn appear within a few hours of being out in the sun, some of which include:
- An inflamed skin which may look red, pink, or maybe harder to spot depending on the skin color and type
- Skin that may feel warm or hot to touch
- Burning sensation, itching or irritation on the skin
- Headache, nausea, or fever if the sunburn is severe
- Eyes can also burn if exposed to the UV rays of the sun
Apart from the above mentioned symptoms, some other signs of second-degree sunburn can include:
- Confusion or dizziness
- Muscle cramps
- Fast breathing
Third-degree sunburns include some more severe symptoms, such as a heat stroke, skin numbness, or skin going pale.
Some risk factors that can cause sunburn include:
- Working outdoors
- Outdoor swimming
- Regularly exposing yourself to harmful UV light either from the sun or other artificial sources, such as tanning beds
Repeated sun exposure can also cause premature aging (photoaging) which can cause wrinkles, rough skin, freckles, or discolored spots called solar lentigines, or the formation of precancerous skin lesions.
However, perpetually staying at home is not an option. Therefore, it is essential to put on sunscreen before you step out. It also helps to carry a scarf or wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your skin from the sun’s direct rays. Within a few days, the body starts to heal itself by peeling the damaged top layer of the skin and replacing it with a new layer.
In case you get a sunburn, there are various home remedies and natural tan removal methods which can relieve the symptoms.
One of the easiest ways and the most effective home remedies for sunburns and to treat inflammation is to cool down the affected area. An effective solution to a sunburn is to dip into a body of water or take a bath. Although it is a general notion to apply ice to cool down the burning sensation, in this case, applying ice directly would just exacerbate the sunburn. Wrap an ice pack or frozen packet of veggies in a towel and try cold compress to reduce heat or any swelling for an interval of 10-15 minutes.
2.Baking soda and oatmeal
Add a few tablespoons of baking soda in a bathtub filled with cold water and soak for about 15-20 minutes to minimize the sunburn. Adding a cup of oats can also provide relief from irritation and help the skin retain its natural moisture. Don’t scrub your skin after bathing. Instead, dab it dry with a soft towel.
Many are conflicted over using vinegar as a home cure for sunburn. While some are of the opinion that adding 2 cups of diluted vinegar to cool bath water can help balance the skin’s pH and reduce the stinginess of the sunburn, others suggest that the high acidity levels in vinegar can only make it worse. If you haven’t tried this remedy for smaller sunburns, it’s best to avoid it.
4.Wear loose clothing
When your skin is sunburned, avoid wearing clothes that stick to your skin. Since the skin is the largest organ, wear loose clothing that lets your skin breathe. Opt for clothing made from natural fibers such as cotton or bamboo.
5.Drink lots of water
Staying hydrated is a vital factor to beat the scorching heat. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to make up for the moisture your skin lost when you were outdoors.
6.Don’t forget the moisturizer
Another home cure for sunburn includes using a water-resistant broad spectrum lip balm and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. After your skin is cooled, apply a moisturizer rich in vitamin E or aloe to lock in moisture and prevent dryness. Avoid using butter or petroleum jelly, or other oil-based products that may block your skin’s pores, which can cause infections.
Chamomile tea is renowned for its calming and relaxing properties. But did you know that it can cast a soothing effect on the sunburned skin as well? Brew the tea and let it cool. Soak a washcloth in it and dab it on the affected area. However, individuals who are allergic to pollen should avoid using this home remedy for sunburn on face.
Foods for Recovery
Some home cures for sunburn include many foods that enable you to recover fast:
- Consume fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as watermelon, cucumber, celery, and grapefruit, to stay hydrated.
- If you thought tanning removal at home was not possible, think again! Watermelons and tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that protects the skin from ultraviolet radiations.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are a powerhouse of anti-inflammatory properties that helps the body to naturally cope with spending excessive time outdoors. Some great sources of omega-3 can be found in walnuts, fish, eggs, hemp, chia seeds, and flax.
- Our bodies convert carotene into vitamin A, which is useful to maintain a healthy skin. Leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale, and carrots contain carotene
Avoiding Further Sun Exposure
Here are some other ways you can avoid sun exposure:
- Avoid direct sun exposure primarily between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
- Aloe vera is considered one of the most useful home remedies for sunburns. Applying the aloe gel derived from this cactus plant can reduce discomfort, speed up the healing process and keep your skin hydrated. While an aloe vera plant is easily available, you can even purchase an aloe vera gel at the nearest pharmacy. Do ensure you are not allergic to aloe.
- Applying grounded coffee with olive oil and mixing with a homemade face mask can aid in tanning removal at home.
- Honey, a readily available ingredient in all households, has been used as a remedy for centuries. Because honey can trap heat, apply it on the affected areas after the first two days of the sunburn.
- Coconut oil is another trust-worthy home remedy to remove face tan that our ancestors swear by. However, apply it once the skin cools and blistering goes away. You can liberally apply organic coconut oil to combat dryness.
- Similar to chamomile tea, other types of teas, including green tea, black tea, or tea tree oil can also improve the blood flow to the skin’s blood vessels, carrying essential nutrients to the damaged skin cells. Make a note to dilute tea tree oil with other carrier oils such as coconut, olive, or almond oil.
- Be prepared before you step out. Carry a pair of sunglasses that protect your eyes, wear a wide-brimmed hat, or wrap your head with a scarf to avoid the direct rays of the sun. Interestingly, umbrellas are not just useful during the monsoon season; they can come handy to protect you from getting a heat stroke.
Rest and Sleep
Getting adequate rest and sleep is vital in the healing process. Getting 7-8 hours of proper sleep can help repair and regenerate skin cells more effectively.
Your skin will thank you if you follow these preventive measures before you step out. These home remedies for sunburn have been passed on from generations, thus they have some truth to them. In cases where the sunburn gets severe, it is advisable to consult a specialist.You can find a specialized dermatologist on the Skin and Hair Academy’s online portal – Find a Dermatologist. Also, explore the Skin and Hair Academy’s website to get more information on skin and hair-related conditions and how to treat them.