You've just spent a great day at the beach, out on the water, or relaxing by the pool. Unfortunately, you might have forgotten to put on sunblock, missed a spot, or sweat it off before you had time to apply more. You head home to find that your shirt now feels uncomfortable and your skin is red or raw. Unfortunately, you’ve got a sunburn. They are caused by overexposure to damaging UV rays from the sun. While they are usually self-treatable and resolve within a week, they are painful and can be annoying to deal with. If you ever find yourself with a sunburn, try one of these helpful steps to help aid recovery. 

Image via Flckr by  Sophie Carys Whitehouse

Image via Flckr by Sophie Carys Whitehouse

1. Assess the Damage

As we mentioned, most sunburns are mild enough to treat at home with a little TLC. However, some can be far more serious. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, head to the doctor for a more thorough examination and treatment plan. 

  • Blisters
  • Fever or chills
  • Swelling
  • Nausea 
  • Dizziness

2. Avoid the Sun

It seems like common sense, but many people who get sunburned will continue to go back out into the sun and worsen the problem. Wear sunblock, clothes that cover the burn, and a hat every time you go outside. Avoid the sun as much as possible during peak hours (10am - 4pm). 

3. Cool Off

Taking a cool (not cold) shower or using a cool, damp towel can help take the heat off of your skin and relieve pain. There are also many over-the-counter products that contain aloe vera or soy that can be used to soothe sunburns with a cooling effect. 

4. Stay Hydrated

An important step in recovering is keeping your skin hydrated to promote healing. Using moisturizer often and throughout the day will help relieve pain and keep your skin from peeling. Getting a lotion with Vitamin E or C may even promote faster healing and damage reversal. Don’t forget your insides, too. Drink plenty of extra water. 

5. Take Your Medicine

If you see a sunburn beginning to form, take a dose of ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Not only will they curb the pain, these anti-inflammatories and pain killers help reduce swelling, redness, pain, and long-term damage.   

Sun burns are treatable, but the best practice is to prevent it in the first place. Over time, this damage to your skin can cause premature aging and in some cases, skin cancer. Your best defense is to wear sunblock and frequently reapply it after going in the water or sweating. It may take longer to see a tan but it is worth it in the long run. You can learn more about the damaging effects of the sun and how Save Your Tattoo can help here.