Summer is in full swing, so it’s prime time for fun in the sun! But, if you’re not careful, you can quickly end up with a sunburn. So, how do you treat one? Today our team of dermatologists will give you some tips on how to treat sunburn.
Best Options For Sunburn Relief
- Cool water. A sunburn is an inflammatory reaction to ultraviolet radiation (UV) that damages the outer layers of the skin, causing it to change color as a defense mechanism. One of the quickest ways you can treat this is to cool down the affected area to help soothe sunburned skin. After a cold shower, apply moisturizer to hydrate. If you feel stinging pain, avoid going into the pool or seawater, as they contain components that can irritate the skin even more (chlorine, salt).
- Aloe Vera. Aloe vera contains a substance called mucopolysaccharides, which helps retain skin moisture, an amazing property that helps soothe, moisturize, and cool sunburned skin, as well as speed up wound healing; this makes it one of the most popular ways to treat minor sunburns at home. When shopping for products like creams or gels, ensure aloe vera is in the first three items of the ingredients list, are high-quality, with at least 95% aloe concentration, and is clear-looking (if they are green, they’ve been artificially colored).
- Moisturizer. When your skin is fighting damage by sunburns, it needs hydration to regain the fluids you lost during sun exposure. We recommend applying moisturizer while your skin is still damped after a shower to help with the dryness that comes with sunburn. Look for creams containing antioxidants (such as vitamin C and E), ceramides, and peptides. Ensure to avoid products containing ingredients like hydroxy acids, physical scrubs, perfume, alcohol, and retinol, as they can potentially irritate the skin even more.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing. Avoid clothes that stick to your skin. As your skin repairs itself, make sure to wear comfortable and loose clothing; this will allow your skin to breathe as it heals from a sunburn. Midi and maxi dresses, cotton button-down shirts, silk-satin shorts, and wide-leg pants are great options to stay fresh.
- Don’t pop sunburn blisters. Sunburn blisters are small, fluid-filled, itchy bumps that appear on severely sunburned skin surrounded by redness and swelling; they are a sign of second-degree sunburn, meaning that popping them may cause scarring. If you have painful sunburn blisters, avoid sun exposure completely; taking ibuprofen can also help reduce discomfort.
6. Drink plenty of water. Dehydration happens when you lose more fluid than you take in, resulting in your body not having the necessary water and essential minerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, potassium, phosphate, and bicarbonate) to keep your body working properly. Drinking plenty of water, sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade, and fruit-infused water with watermelon or cucumber with mint can help you avoid dehydration.
7. Know when to visit the specialist. If you have itching, swelling, fluid-filled, painful blisters, and are experiencing symptoms such as headaches, fevers, nausea, and fatigue, don’t hesitate to contact your dermatologist to get the right treatment and prevent further complications, such as scarring, premature aging, sun spots, wrinkling, and the risk of skin cancer.
Meet Dr. Daniela Gutierrez, Dermatologist & Trichologist at Bellphoria.
How Long Does Sunburn Last?
The duration of sunburn is determined by its severity:
- Mild sunburn. Lasts approximately 3 days.
- Moderate sunburn. Lasts around 5 days (often followed by peeling skin).
- Severe sunburn. It lasts more than a week and usually includes blisters; they can show up between 6 and 24 hours of UV exposure. Going to your dermatologist for treatment is highly recommended if you have this type of sunburn.
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Do Sunburn Turn Into Tans?
The body produces melanin to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays, which produces the brownish pigment on your skin (a.k.a a tan) to protect you from further burning; this pigment darkening usually begins 3 days after the exposure and can last for two weeks.
A tan is not necessarily the result of sunburn, which is why some just burn instead of “getting” a tan, which is highly influenced by skin type and color. For example, people with lighter skin are more likely to just burn, while people with neutral or warm undertones are more likely to tan. However, is important to know that all skin types and colors can be damaged and at risk of complications due to prolonged sun exposure.
How To Get Rid Of Tan Lines?
Depending on how you applied your sunscreen or the clothes you wore, you might get weird tan lines that, aesthetically speaking, can be very uncomfortable. There are different ways to even out tan lines:
- Wear sunscreen daily to prevent the already tanned areas from becoming even darker.
- Gently exfoliate to remove the outer layer of dead skin cells; this will help the tan fade with time.
- Try using products containing vitamin C and niacinamide, which can help lighten hyperpigmentation.
Treatments like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and hydrafacial can help exfoliate and regenerate the skin by promoting the formation of new skin. You must wait until your skin is fully healed after a sunburn that turned into a tan.
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Dermatologist In Tijuana, Mexico
Bellphoria is located in the most important medical tower in Latin America: NewCity Medical Plaza, where we offer a great variety of dermatology treatments using the latest technology, carried out by the best-certified doctors, at a fraction of what it would cost in other countries such as the United States.
Taking care of your skin will let you enjoy summer safely and stay healthy while having fun! Whether you are looking for a summer skincare routine, the right sunscreen according to your skin type, or getting a sunburn treated by a professional at Bellphoria, we can help. Schedule an appointment today!