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  • Writer's pictureKristaleagh Walthall

Taking Care of a Sunburn

I am very pale. It's kind of my thing. I don't really spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun so whenever I do, I tend to douse myself in sunscreen. Fun fact about sunscreen: you have to consistently apply it in order for it to prevent sunburns. Most of the time, I'm pretty good about staying on top of it, but sometimes, I forget.

At the beginning of June, some friends, my husband, and I took a trip out to Smith Mountain Lake one very hot and sunny weekend. We had an amazing time hanging out, swimming, horseback riding, boating, and just getting out of our houses for a little bit. I initially applied sunscreen, but forgot to reapply throughout our time on the lake and got BURNED. The photo I've added does not do the sunburn I got any sort of justice.

I don't get sunburned often because I tend to avoid being in the sun for that long, but when I do burn, I burn badly. Because of that, I like to think that I have a foolproof method of taking care of and getting rid of a bad sunburn fairly quickly.

Let's start by defining what a sunburn is because I don't think people really understand what is happening to their skin. A sunburn is *technically* a radiation burn because of overexposure to the sun's UV rays. It doesn't just affect your skin, but also can cause fever, nausea, headaches/migraines, dehydration, and other symptoms.

Personally when I get a sunburn, my muscles get really sore, I tend to be exhausted all the time, my skin gets itchy, and some of the places that got burned get really swollen. This is not even close to the list of symptoms you can experience according to google so definitely be prepared to do some research and take care of yourself with a sunburn in different ways that I may not mention in this blog.

Let's take care of that sunburn.

Aloe/Water Based Lotion

The first thing I tackle when I have a sunburn is the dry and itchy skin. Get some lotion! Not just any lotion, try to get an unscented lotion with aloe or is water based. Your skin is dehydrated so give it some moisture! If you don't know where to get some, here is a good list of products to use! Gently rub the lotion into every part of your body that is burned. The worse the burn, the more you need to use it. I try to put it on about two to three times a day.

Take Lukewarm-Cold Baths/Showers.

I hate cold showers, but when I have a burn, taking a cold shower is literal heaven. My skin gets so hot that it feels like I'm taking a warm shower even though I didn't touch the hot water knob. If you really want to get the water into your skin faster, take a soak. You don't have to make it cold, but make sure to not put in a lot of hot water, like even if you aim for lukewarm, put it on the colder side.

Place Wet Towels on the Burned Areas.

Now maybe I do this because I'm a kind of a drama queen when I get burned, but whenever I get really burned, I like to wet some towels and drape them over the burned area. This works really well if you burn your legs because you can just wear shorts and watch TV while you do this.

If you don't want to have a soaking wet towel on your body, you can always get a spray bottle, fill it up with water, and embrace your inner diva by walking around spraying yourself with it.

Drink LOTS of Water.

A common side effect of being sunburned is dehydration, so make sure to drink lots and lots of water. Try to avoid drinking alcohol, coffee, soda, and other sugary drinks. If you're not a water person, drink gatorade or other sports drinks that have electrolytes, non-caffeinated tea, or add fruit and veggies to your water for some fun water infusion.

Try Not to Irritate the Burned Areas

This is the part of the blog where I tell you not to wear clothes. LOL. I'm mostly kidding. If you're at home and you can avoid it, don't do it. If you have to go out or you're not comfortable just lounging about with no clothes on, try to wear loose flowy clothes that don't rub against the burn. Things I would avoid would be things like bras, jeans, tight t-shirts, stuff like that.

Also, DON'T SCRATCH. I know you're itchy and it hurts, but don't do it. That just causes peeling to be worse and the sunburn to last longer. Plus if you have blisters, you could open one and that's not a good idea either. If you're itchy, give your skin more moisture with lotions or water.

Take a Nap.

You'll more than likely feel drained after you get a sunburn. I always sleep longer and better with a sunburn because I'm so tired. Napping is already proven to have lots of benefits, so taking one while sunburned can help you heal faster and help you feel better and more rested. Plus, who doesn't like to sleep?

There are more ways to take care of sunburns and every skin is different, so make sure to take the time to find the sunburn care routine that works best for yours. You don't want to accidentally have an allergic reaction on top of a sunburn. Yikes.

Hopefully, you find some of these tips helpful in taking care of your skin and getting rid of a sunburn. Just remember, the best way to take care of a sunburn is to do your best to prevent getting a sunburn in the first place. Wear sunscreen, get a big floppy hat, drink lots and lots of water, and stay in the shade whenever possible. Just take care of yourself so you don't have to be miserable for a few days.

Take a shot for all of the burns to come and toast to the fun times in the sun ahead!



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