By Alix Turoff
Spending the day at the beach with your friends is a well-intentioned summer activity. But exposing your skin to too much sun has dangerous repercussions (wrinkles, sun spots, skin cancer, you get the idea!). No matter how careful we tend to be, though, we’ve all suffered from a tan gone awry and we all know it’s not pleasant. Of course, prevention is always the best medicine, but if you ran out the door without applying your SPF and ended up with a painful sunburn, follow some of our tips to reverse the damage and ease the pain.
Aloe. It’s the age old remedy for treating sunburns, but can actually be used to help prevent burns too. Before heading to the beach, apply a sunblock containing aloe vera to block harmful rays while allowing healthy rays to give you the glow you desire. Damage already done? Apply fresh, refrigerated aloe or an aloe gel to the skin to soothe burn and prevent peeling.
Vinegar. It may not smell like our favorite summer scents, but if you put white or apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and mist onto a sunburn, it can help to prevent unsightly blisters and peeling.
Bath Time. Utilize your bath time to help soothe your sunburn by mixing 2-3 cups of oats into a bath to soothe the burn. If an oatmeal bath isn’t up your alley, try dissolving ¾ cup of baking soda into a warm bath to cool the skin and to keep it from drying out. Another option is to add 25 drops of lavender or chamomile essential oils (or both!) to a bath and soak.
Tea. The tannic acids that occur naturally in tea are a great remedy for sun-damaged skin. Steep a pot of spearmint or peppermint tea and cool it in the refrigerator before applying it to the burn using a compress or spray bottle or just press the tea bag directly onto the skin.
Produce. Look to the produce aisle and you will find sunburn remedies that you never even knew existed. Fresh cut cucumber cools and soothes the skin and lemon juice, mixed with water, can help speed the healing process. Similarly, the starch from a grated potato can help soothe a burn when applied directly to skin, as can pureed strawberries (applied directly to the burn). More creative? Mix of equal parts of pureed tomatoes and buttermilk!
Dairy. The dairy aisle is another sunburn remedy hot spot. Apply whole milk to the burn for 20 minutes or bathe in a mixture of water and whole milk to soothe the burn. Keep in mind that the fat in whole milk is what soothes, so skim milk won’t work! Plain greek yogurt, with live cultures, or egg whites can also be applied directly to the burn for 5 minutes to help cool and exfoliate the skin.
DIY not your thing? One of our favorite products for sun-damaged skin is Sensai by Kanebo Silky Bronze Soothing After Sun Mask (8 treatments for $100). This 10 minute treatment calms skin and minimizes peeling. Ten minutes is all you need to help reverse sun damage and give your skin the healthy glow you were aiming for. After washing your face, apply the mask to the face and leave it on for 10 minutes. When you remove it, your skin will feel less dry and appear less red. We also love NIA24 Intensive Recovery Complex ($110), with its 5% Pro-Niacin™ Patented Formula, that helps activate your skin’s own regenerative powers.
Next time, apply one of these super sunscreens!