Treating Sunburn

Too much fun in the sun without taking the right precautions and you could suffer from sunburn. Although prevention is key, if you happen to over do it, there are some things you should know about treating sunburn.

Even if you’ve applied sunscreen – it’s not foolproof. Perspiration, a dip in the pool and waiting too long to reapply are just a few reasons your sunscreen can fail. Keep an eye on your skin, and if it appears to be turning pink or feeling painful, quickly head indoors.

Once you’re out of the sun, reduce the temperature of your skin with a cool shower. Avoid scrubbing skin and dry gently using a soft towel and patting motion. Apply moisturizer immediately afterwards to trap water in the skin. To take the sting out of sunburn, apply a cool compress or cold, damp towel for about 15 minutes several times a day until the redness dissipates.

Treat damaged skin to a good, basic moisturizer several times a day. Avoid products containing petroleum, which can trap heat in the skin.Also steer clear of products that list benzocaine and lidocaine as ingredients, since they can lead to skin irritation.

The sun not only dries the skin, it can lead to dehydration of the entire body. Rehydrate by drinking plenty of water. Avoid caffeinated drinks, which act as a diuretic, and instead opt for plain water. You should also increase your intake of high water content foods. Cucumber, celery, tomatoes, green peppers and watermelon are all made up of more than 90 percent water.

If your skin is extremely painful, you develop blisters or you have fever and chills, see your dermatologist. Severe sunburn may require prescription oral or topical corticosteroids or other treatments.

Finally, stay out of the sun until your skin heals. If you do have to be outdoors, wear a hat and choose tightly woven fabrics to block the sunlight.

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