Turn Down the Heat

Sunburns are no fun. Most of us try to avoid them as often as possible, but every now and again they happen. There are lots of options for treatment and soothing sunburn. Finding the one that works best for you may take a few trials – it’s just a matter of what you have around the house.

Drink Up While it’s important
to get lots of water every day, it’s even more important when you have a sunburn.

Inside Out It is important to eat light while dealing with a bad sunburn. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables, especially those loaded with antioxidant vitamins C and E can actually both prevent and repair cellular damage caused by ultraviolet radiation.

Compress For smaller areas you can make a compress. Mix one of the following liquids and then soak a soft cloth in the mixture. Gently add the cloth to your skin. Let sit for up to two hours, remove and let your skin air-dry (pat-drying can be irritating).

• Vinegar Water: Add 1/2-cup of vinegar to a bowl of water
• Witch Hazel: Add equal parts witch hazel to water
• Skim Milk: Add 1 cup of skim milk to 4 cups of water
• Oatmeal: Wrap dry oatmeal in gauze or cheesecloth. Run cool water through it. Discard the oatmeal and use the oatmeal water for a compress.

• Baking Soda: Add 1/2-cup baking soda to cold water.

• Lettuce: Take several lettuce leaves and boil them thoroughly. Strain out the lettuce and place the lettuce water in the fridge; when cool, use it as a compress. Let sit for up to two hours, remove and let your skin air-dry.

• Rx: You can take a pain reliever as directed. This can help to
ease inflammation and to reduce your pain.

• Bath Soak: If you burned a good portion of your body, try taking a bath in one of the following mixtures.

• Add 2 cups vinegar.

• Add 2 cups baking soda.

• Brew 4 cups of very strong tea (black or green), or you can add five tea bags and let them soak beside you.
Fruits & Veggies Cut thin slices of cucumber, potato or apples and place them on the burn. Leave them there for 15 to 20 minutes and then remove and discard.

Paste Apply one of these options below; let dry thoroughly and either allow it to flake off or shower in a tepid shower to remove.

• Take plain (unsweetened and unflavored) yogurt and apply it to the skin; let dry.

• Mix baking soda and water until it forms a medium-thick paste; apply and let dry.

• Peel a cucumber and blend it. Then apply it to the burn and let dry.

• Make a paste of water and cornstarch. Quickly apply to the skin and let dry (dries very quickly).

Moisturize While there are some debates about the use of moisturizers, many doctors report that this is the most important part of healing the skin after sunburn. After all, the burn has depleted the moisture from the skin. There are several options for moisturizing:

• Gently add bath oil to the burned area and let it soak in.

• You can use your favorite moisturizer, but it’s best if you choose something very light, fragrance-free and with no added colorants.

• Everyone agrees that aloe vera is a great way to treat a wide range of problems – this is certainly one of them. You can either take a leaf of the plant (the spiky part) and squeeze out the gel onto the skin, or blend the leaf and apply the gel. The leaves can be purchased in some stores in the produce department. However, aloe vera gel can also be purchased in most pharmacies and health food stores.

Oil is often very good for the skin. You can use olive oil, vegetable oil or another oil that you may have on-hand. Some very good, rather exotic types of oil, include hemp and avocado oil.

If you have blisters, try a triple antibiotic over the counter ointment to help guard against infection.

Also: Seek Help If you’re in a lot of pain, are blistered in a large area of your body or having problems, then you
should call your doctor and ask for an appointment.

And Prevent Most sunscreens need to be applied 30 minutes before going out and also after you’ve been in the water. Wear light-colored clothing and a hat to help protect yourself.

Enjoy the summer, avoid burns and treat and sooth those you happen to get ASAP!

Digital Sponsors

Become a MyNewOrleans.com sponsor ...

Sign up for our FREE

New Orleans Magazine email newsletter

Get the the best in New Orleans dining, shopping, events and more delivered to your inbox.